Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite Friday provided his first response regarding the fatal shooting of a man late Sunday night by police officers in search of a domestic violence suspect from Tate County.
However, in making the announcement, Musselwhite stated he could say little more until all of the facts in the case have been brought out.
Friday’s statement recounted information from the death of Ismael Lopez, the victim of an officer-involved shooting at his residence in the 5800 block of Surrey Lane, east of Highway 51 and south of Nail Road.
Lopez died when shots were fired in the doorway by the officers. Police information indicated the officers saw a gun pointed at them and fired in response, a statement disputed by the family, who have hired a Memphis law firm to represent their interests in the case.
Their stance is that the officers shot through a closed doorway and were not threatening the police.
All this was going on across the street from the actual residence the officers were to visit, where Samuel Pearman lived, the man Tate County Sheriff’s authorities had asked the Southaven department to find.
Pearman was later found and arrested, accused of choking a woman at a gas station in Tate County. He faces aggravated a domestic violence charge in the incident.
Musselwhite, in his statement, pointed out the block in question consists of several mobile homes with mailboxes on the same side of the street.
He went on to caution that “all facets of the incident that followed, including the circumstances leading up to the incident, are currently under investigation.”
The shooting remains under the investigation of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, or MBI. District Attorney John Champion has said he would consider possible charges only after the MBI’s investigation is completed and their findings presented to him.
“The City of Southaven considers all facts and complete information before forming judgements and taking action,” Musselwhite stated. “We are diligently gathering facts at this time and will have no further comment until the investigation by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has been completed.”
Some members of the Hispanic community came out in support of the Lopez family this week and protested in front of the Southaven Police Department headquarters on Northwest Drive.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.