MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Officers who mistakenly entered a home trying to arrest an Alabama man who was already in jail shot a woman who was inside, news outlets reported.
Ann Rylee, 19, was wounded during the raid on Thursday, television news outlets quoted family members as saying. They said she was hospitalized and was expected to survive.
Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran told WALA-TV that officers shot Rylee after she pointed a shotgun at them. He said a “miscommunication” led to officers being at the home in the first place.
Mobile County sheriff’s deputies joined federal officers at a home in the Wilmer community looking for Nicholas McLeod, who used to live there. Jail records show he was actually arrested a day earlier on charges including possession of drug paraphernalia and evidence tampering.
A nephew, Christopher McLeod, told news outlets he was outside the house emptying the trash with a friend before work when multiple officers armed with rifles and wearing body armor pulled up in vehicles and demanded that they put up their hands.
“They were looking for someone who used to live at that house years ago. He was my uncle,” McLeod said.
McLeod said he told them Rylee, his fiancée, was inside the house asleep in a recliner in the living room, where they kept a shotgun for protection. Two federal marshals who had approached the home started yelling “gun” and fired multiple times, he said.
“They had us face down in the dirt outside the whole time this was going on,” McLeod said.
McLeod said Rylee was shot multiple times and underwent surgery.
“I just hope she’s OK. That’s my No. 1,” McLeod said. “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.”
The sheriff said it wasn’t clear why officers didn’t know that the person they were looking for already was in jail.
“We do know that there is a miscommunication in this situation. We don’t know the exact cause. We have narrowed it down to one of two things,” he said.
Officers shot the woman after she refused orders to drop the shotgun, he said.
“If she would not have pointed a gun at the agents they would have determined all that on the scene and would have bid her a ‘good day and thank you very much,’” Cochran said.