Duncan Lemp, a 21-year-old computer programmer from Potomac, Maryland, was gunned down by a SWAT team as he slept on March 12.
The Montgomery County Police Department claims that officers from the Special Operations Division – Tactical Unit were attempting to serve a high-risk search warrant to Mr. Lemp pertaining to firearms offenses at 4:30 AM on Thursday. They claim that as officers were in the process of serving the warrant, Lemp confronted them and was fatally wounded by an officer.
Mr. Lemp’s parents and brother were also in the home at the time of the shooting. They have denied the police version of events through their attorney, Rene Sandler. They say that officers in fact fired through an outside window, killing him while he was still asleep. Mr. Lemp’s girlfriend was also shot during the incident, but survived.
Sandler has claimed that no one in the home at the time of the shooting heard any warning from the police before they opened fire. The law specifies that police are only authorized to use lethal force when there is an imminent threat to their safety; it would seem unlikely that a sleeping individual could pose such a threat.
Additionally, ABC obtained a copy of the warrant and reported that there is no reference to it being high-risk. High-risk warrants can only be obtained when a suspect is believed to pose an imminent threat to the public or law enforcement; however, there is no reference to Mr. Lemp being an imminent threat in it. Neither Lemp or anyone else who was in the house at the time has any criminal record, according to Sandler.
Montgomery County police claim that the warrant was issued in response to a complaint from the public that Mr. Lemp was in possession of firearms that he was prohibited from owning.
The police have said that the shooting is still under investigation. However, past instances of law enforcement using lethal force against lawful gun owners show that it is unlikely that there will be any serious repercussions for the officers involved in Mr. Lemp’s murder.
Lemp was active on social media and made his support for the Second Amendment well-known, including posting photographs of AR-15 rifles. It is possible that this is what attracted law enforcement’s interest.
“He was pro-America and supported wholeheartedly all the protections of the Constitution,” Sandler told the media. “We believe that the body camera footage and other forensic evidence from this event will support what Duncan’s family already knows: that he was murdered.”