Family Says Suspect Was Sleeping When Shot By Cops, PD Says They're Lying
Silver Spring, MD – The target of a Montgomery County police raid allegedly set a “booby trap” inside his home in an attempt to shoot anyone who breached his bedroom doorway, police said.
Duncan Socrates Lemp, 21, was prohibited from owning firearms until the age of 30 due to his juvenile criminal history, the Associated Press reported.
But Montgomery County police detectives received a report that Lemp had ignored the restriction and had multiple firearms inside his home, according to WUSA.
At approximately 4:30 a.m. on March 13, officers served a high-risk, “no-knock search warrant” at the St. James Road residence, WUSA reported.
When they approached Lemp’s bedroom, a second person inside the room with Lemp warned them that the suspect had set a “booby trap intended to detonate a shotgun shell at the direction of anyone entering through the exterior door into Lemp’s bedroom,” according to police.
The witness also told officers that the suspect slept with a rifle every night, WUSA reported.
"Contrary to some information reported to the media, the same occupant also indicated that Lemp was out of the bed and standing directly in front of the interior bedroom door at the time the officers made entry into the bedroom," the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) told WUSA in a statement.
Lemp, who was allegedly armed with a rifle, refused to show his hands or get onto the ground, according to police.
The armed suspect was fatally shot by one of the officers during the tense encounter.
Investigators ultimately recovered two handguns and three rifles from inside the residence.
But according to Rene Sandler, the attorney representing Lemp’s family members, the officers lied about what occurred when they arrived at the residence, The Guardian reported.
“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,” Sandler declared.
Sandler said that an eyewitness provided information that was “completely contrary” to the officers’ accounts, and alleged that there was “absolutely no justification” for the fatal shooting.
The family alleged that police fired bullets into the home from outside, and denied that any of the officers yelled commands or warnings prior to shooting Lemp, The Guardian reported.
“Multiple eyewitnesses told investigators that the police only forced entry into the home after Duncan was shot,” Sandler said in a statement to the Associated Press. “According to those eyewitnesses, the police had no contact with any family members until after Duncan was shot.”
Lemp shared the home with his parents and his 19-year-old brother.
“Statements from other occupants of the residence indicated they were aware of the dangerous device on the door,” police said.
Lemp’s friend and work associate, 24-year-old Tsolmondorj Natsagdorj, said that Lemp was “a young guy with a bright future as an entrepreneur,” according to The Guardian.
“He was working on things to change the world,” Natsagdorj said.
Samuel Reid said that his company had hired Lemp, a software developer, as an independent contractor in the past.
“He was a talented, smart guy. Super nice,” Reid said. “Didn’t deserve to get shot.”
Lemp’s online activity indicated that he was actively involved in the Three Percenters movement, and according to The Guardian.
Sandler denied that the suspect had been associated with any anti-government groups.
“He was pro-America and supported wholeheartedly all the protections of the constitution,” she declared.
Sandler said that the incident has traumatized Lemp’s family, and that they intend on holding accountable “each and every person responsible for his death,” The Guardian reported.
“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,” the attorney added.
The MCPD’s Major Crimes Division is handling the ongoing investigation into the incident, the department said in a statement.
The officer who fatally shot Lemp has been placed on administrative leave, as per protocol.