By Allan Lengel
DETROIT — Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy on Wednesday morning presented a mountain of evidence to defend the actions of ICE agent Mitchell Quinn who fatally shot Terrance Kellom, 20, in late April in Detroit during a raid at his home. He was wanted for armed robbery and other charges.
Worthy, using a power point with photos and schematics of the house, went step by step through the investigation at a press conference, as if she were delivering a closing argument in a case, and said that the shooting was justified and no criminal charges would be filed against Quinn, who was part of a fugitive task force. Her presentation included lab results.
She said the lengthy investigation conducted by the Michigan State Police-Detroit Police Department homicide task force backed up Quinn’s version of what happened: That Kellom came at him with a claw hammer and wouldn’t retreat even after being warned to back down and being shot once. He was shot a total of four times.
She also indicated that the investigation showed that Kellom’s father lied to investigators and gave conflicting versions of the unfolding events.
The shooting had the potential to turn ugly in the community, with the Kellom family and other activists demanding justice and a criminal charge against the ICE agent.
Kellom’s father had said that the agent shot his unarmed son after he had surrendered. Had the investigation confirmed that scenario, there’s a good chance criminal charges would have been filed.
Worthy clearly indicated that wasn’t the case.
Worthy made clear that her office was not shy about indicting cops who have crossed the line, and she noted that the nation clearly has a history of problems with some law enforcement officers mistreating some black motorists.
But in the end, she said:
“Yes, black lives matter. Of course, they matter. But you know what else matters? Credible facts matter,”
Kellom’s father Kevin had pushed for what he called justice.
“They executed my son in my face,” Kellom’s father, Kevin, said during a rally and protest march shortly after the shooting, according to WWJ.. ““My son died with a clenched fist, no hammer. My son reached for me and got shot. I want justice, I’m going to get justice. I promised him that, and I’m promising his mother that. I’m not going to stop until I get justice for my son.”
Prosecutor Worthy said none of those facts proved true, according to the investigation.
Kellom was wanted for a host of charges including the armed robbery of a pizza delivery person.
Worthy said after the task Quinn was part of observed Kellom go into the house, the tasked force knocked and asked if Kellom was home. His father, Worthy said, told officers his son wasn’t home, when in fact he was hiding in the attic.
Kevin Kellom, the father of the dead man, at a press conference videotaped by the Detroit News, still insisted the agent “assassinated” his son and wasn’t happy with today’s decision not to charge the ICE agent Mitchell Quinn.
His attorney Karri Mitchell stopped reporters from asking Kellom what happened that day, saying he was traumatized and may not remember exactly the same details every time. He said that would account for why Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Kellom gave conflicting stories to investigators. He also questioned the results of the investigation and said the officers could have restrained the son without killing him. (See video below)
David Griem, attorney for Quinn, told Deadline Detroit:
“it was a great sense of relief for Mitchell Quinn and his family.” He said he’s been confined to a desk job, but is expected to return to the field now.
He said he blamed the Kellom family’s attorneys for manipulating the facts in the case. He said they manipulated the family to help bolster a lawsuit.
Mitchell told Deadline Detroit about Griem’s remarks: “I”m a professional, I don’t respond to something like that.”