Desoto County News

Jury rules officers not liable in Lopez shooting death case

A jury has ruled that Southaven police officers were justified in their actions during a shooting incident that resulted in the death of Ismael Lopez six years ago.
Lopez, age 41 and a native of Mexico, died at his Southaven home in July 2017. He was shot and killed by police officers who mistakenly went to the wrong house while responding to a domestic disturbance call.

The jury ruled that officers were not liable and reasonable force was used. Attorneys for Lopez’ family have not announced if any further action is planned in the case.

On the day of the shooting, police were called to a domestic disturbance at a nearby location. However, a mixup brought the responding officers to the Lopez residence, which was unrelated to the call.

Information about what happened next was conflicting, depending on the source. Police said Lopez pointed a gun at them through a partially opened door. In response, one officer opened fire, fatally shooting Lopez. However, Lopez’s family maintains that he was not armed and did not pose a threat.

In 2018, a grand jury decided not to indict the officers involved in the shooting.

In reacting to the jury finding, Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite expressed sympathy for Lopez’ death but was pleased his department was vindicated.

“This was a tragic event and our sincerest condolences continue for the family and friends of Ismael Lopez,” Musselwhite said. “This verdict proves what we’ve believed to be correct since day one as our officers responded appropriately considering the circumstance of being threatened with deadly force. We’ve stood behind them during the last six years for this very reason and, for their sake, are glad this trial is over.”

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