Police officers in Mobile County, Alabama, entered a home and shot a woman while trying to arrest a man who was already in jail. Authorities are now blaming the woman because she held up a shotgun at them after they entered her home erroneously.
Police officers were dispatched to the home to arrest 41-year-old Nicholas McLeod, who used to live in the house that was stormed. McLeod had several outstanding warrants for his arrest. But McLeod no longer lived in the home. Instead, his nephew, Christopher, lived in the house along with his fiancé, Ann Rylee, 19.
Christopher told news outlets that he was outside the house when multiple police officers pulled up, decked out in body armor and carrying rifles. Christopher said the officers told him to put his hands up.
“They were looking for someone who used to live at that house years ago. He was my uncle,” McLeod said, according to The Associated Press.
McLeod told news outlets that he informed the police that his fiancée, Rylee, was inside the home and sleeping on a recliner with quick access to a shotgun for protection. McLeod said two federal marshals then yelled “gun” and shots were fired.
“They had us face down in the dirt outside the whole time this was going on,” McLeod said.
Rylee was shot multiple times and has had surgery for her wounds.
“I just hope she’s OK. That’s my No. 1,” McLeod said, according to the AP. “It’s just so unfortunate because none of this needed to happen, it had nothing to do with us. We’re just victims of an unfortunate situation.”
WALA reported that Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran laid blame for the incident on Rylee.
“As agents went up to the house they detained two men outside, who said there was a woman still inside. As they went to make entry into the house… This lady had armed herself with a shotgun and the entry team was giving her orders to drop the gun, put the gun down, drop the gun several times — over a period of a few seconds it seems like… And there is video recordings of that. She didn’t and she pointed the gun at one of them — then two or three agents fired upon her striking her three or four times,” Cochran said.
Agents shouldn’t have even entered the home, as the man they were looking for, Nicholas McLeod, had been arrested a day earlier and was sitting in jail during the time officers went to Christopher and Rylee’s home. Cochran told WALA that they didn’t know Nicholas had already been arrested and wouldn’t have gone to the home if they had known.
“We do know there was a miscommunication… And we’ve narrowed it down to one of two things: The investigators did not make one final check this morning to send teams out to make the arrests or warrants section did not communicate to the computer system — that the warrants were no longer active. We’re running that down,” Cochran said. “However, if she would not have pointed a gun at the agents — they would have determined all of that on the scene and would have bid her a good day and thank you very much.”
The Alabama Bureau of Investigation has now taken over the case and will investigate the situation. Though Cochran said there was footage of the officers telling Rylee to put the gun down, WALA reported that there is no body camera footage.