Police say a Maryland man confronted them when he was shot and killed in his home on Thursday morning, but the man’s family members say he was fast asleep when the shooting happened.
Duncan Lemp, 21, was the subject of a “high-risk” search warrant related to firearms offenses by the Montgomery County Police Department when he was shot and killed, and his guns confiscated. Now Rene Sandler, the attorney for Lemp’s family, has called on police to explain what happened as officers disputed the family’s claims.
— Rene Sandler, Esq. (@SandlerLawLLC) March 14, 2020
The Montgomery County Police Department said in a press release that they were serving out a warrant at approximately 4:30 a.m. on March 12 at the home Lemp shared with his parents and his 19-year-old brother. Lemp was reportedly prohibited from possessing firearms and police were following up on a complaint from the public. Police did not explain why Lemp was prohibited from firearms possession.
“During the warrant service, the suspect confronted the officers and was fatally shot by an officer assigned to the Tactical Unit,” the press release said.
Police say they later recovered three rifles and two handguns from Lemp’s residence.
Lemp’s family said they heard no warnings or police commands before the shooting occurred, the Guardian reported. Lemp’s family is saying he was asleep when police arrived and opened fire from outside the residence.
“Any attempt by the police to shift responsibility on to Duncan or his family, who were sleeping when the police fired shots into their home, is not supported by the facts,” the family said in a statement.
According to Sandler, an eyewitness has already provided a contrary account of the incident and she said no part of the warrant mentioned any “imminent threat.”
“There is no warrant or other justification that would ever allow for that unless there is an imminent threat, which there was not,” Sandler said.
Lemp’s girlfriend, who was asleep in Lemp’s room was also struck by gunfire and injured during the incident.
Montgomery police say the incident is now being investigated by the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office, as per an agreement between Montgomery and Howard counties that when an officer-involved shooting involving injury or death occurs in one county, the other county’s State’s Attorney’s Office will review the incident.
Lemp reportedly posted gun-related memes on social media and someone matching Lemp’s description appeared to comment on the “My Militia” internet forum that they are “an active III%’r and looking for local members & recruits,” referencing the Three Percenter gun rights activist movement. The Anti-Defamation League has associated the Three Percenter movement with anti-government extremism.
Friends of Lemp’s, however, told the Guardian they never heard Lemp espouse any anti-government rhetoric. Sandler said Lemp was not a part of any anti-government or a militia group.
“He was pro-America and supported wholeheartedly all the protections of the constitution,” she said.