Silver Spring, MD — Duncan Lemp was a talented computer programmer who was raising money to form a startup company to go out on his own. This 21-year-old proponent of the Constitution had his entire life ahead of him. However, because the state of Maryland reportedly wanted to take his guns, he was killed in his own home — gunned down in his bed as he slept, according to his attorney.
Now, the cops who conducted the no-knock raid on the man who hadn't harmed anyone, have been given a pass by Maryland prosecutors. Lemp’s family says their son was sleeping in his bed next to his girlfriend when a Montgomery County police officer opened fire, but prosecutors concluded that Lemp pointed a rifle at the officer and posed a threat.
“He was a talented, smart guy. Super nice. Didn’t deserve to get shot,” said Samuel Reid, whose Canadian software company employed Lemp as an independent contractor at the time of his death.
According to police, at approximately 4:30 am on March 12, members of the Special Operations Division – Tactical Unit were in the process of serving a high-risk search warrant related to firearms offenses at an address in the 12200 block of St. James Road in Potomac. During the warrant service, the suspect confronted the officers and was fatally shot by an officer assigned to the Tactical Unit.
The unnamed officer fired five shots through a window from outside the home, hitting Lemp all five times.
Family attorney Rene Sandler said the grand jury's report reveals that no body camera videos captured the shooting. She also noted that prosecutors concluded there was no evidence of any crossfire or that Lemp’s gun had been fired, according to WTOP.
Police claim Lemp was not allowed to possess the firearms he owned, so they raided his house to take them.
“Detectives were following up on a complaint from the public that Lemp, though prohibited, was in possession of firearms,” the release said without elaborating.
Sandler said the family is “extremely disappointed that prosecutors declined to charge for the murder of their son,” and they question and disagree with the legal analysis by prosecutors, who they believe “got it wrong, both factually and legally.”
“In reaching their conclusion, they had to unfortunately ignore very important facts from eyewitnesses,” she said. Sandler said the family likely will sue “everyone responsible.”
Sandler explained that the grand jury was not shown key evidence that would prove Lemp was murdered.
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“And he did not obtain all of the information. So there’s a lack of transparency here and incredibly unfair process for this grieving family,” Sandler said.
She said the Montgomery County State’s Attorney “cherry-picked selected, certain portions of grand jury testimony,” which the Lemps’ lawyers are not allowed to see or use in any way, but there was no information on the officer who fatally shot Lemp.
As ABC reported at the time, the warrant that police obtained to search the Potomac home Lemp shared with his parents and 19-year-old brother doesn’t mention any “imminent threat” to law enforcement or the public, Lemp’s relatives said. Nobody in the house that morning had a criminal record, the statement adds. It would be later found, however, that Lemp had a record as a juvenile, which is why police were there to take his guns.
“Any attempt by the police to shift responsibility onto Duncan or his family, who were sleeping when the police fired shots into their home, is not supported by the facts,” Sandler said.
Sandler is now calling upon the Montgomery County State’s Attorney to join in seeking the release of the entirety of the grand jury transcripts and information, “so that the public can make their own factual determinations of what took place on March 12.”
After he was killed, TFTP found Lemp's Instagram account and his personal website. They show that this young entrepreneur was a talented computer programmer as well as a proponent for liberty. In one of his posts, Lemp posted a photo of two AR-style rifles with the quote "Sic Semper Tyrannis." The phrase translates literally as “thus always to tyrants”. The idea is that a tyrant always meets a dire end, which is just and should be expected.
It was likely this post that set the officers on their path that ended with the alleged murder of Lemp.
A “confidential source” allegedly told investigators in February that Lemp was involved in the Three Percenters and had made “anti-police” statements in the past, prosecutors said.
However, Sandler said that there was no evidence that has been provided to them or can be relied upon to show that Lemp was an imminent threat to the public or to anyone,
Police would later go on to claim that Lemp had his home booby trapped and that he was a danger. But Sandler says this is not justification for killing him.
“Regardless of what was found, or alleged to have been found after the fact, there is no articulable fact by the police or by anyone that suggest that Duncan Lemp was violent or a threat to any person in order to obtain a no knock-police warrant,” Sandler said.
“And the police chose the most lethal possible way to talk to Mr. Lemp at 4:30 in the morning, by shooting and killing him through his window of his bedroom, where he was sleeping next to his pregnant girlfriend,” Sandler said.