Former NBA player Shawn Kemp was arrested on Wednesday for opening fire in a Pierce County, Washington, parking lot.
According to Tacoma police, the incident occurred near the Tacoma Mall while the retired athlete attempted to retrieve a stolen cell phone and other items.
Police first posted on Twitter, “At 1:58 pm [PT], an altercation between the occupants of 2 cars led to shots being fired at a parking lot in the 4500 blk of S. Steele St. One car fled. No injuries were reported. A gun was recovered. A 53-yr-old male was booked for Drive-By Shooting. The investigation is ongoing.”
While Kemp was arrested on Wednesday, he has since been released, and the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office reportedly does not plan on pressing charges as the investigation continues. “We’re grateful they didn’t rush to judgment,” said Seattle criminal defense lawyer Tim Leary, who is the legal representative for the 53-year-old.
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Although it was initially reported the investigation was for a drive-by shooting, attorneys have since corrected this claim. W. Scott Boatman, another lawyer representing Kemp, released a written statement in regard to his client’s arrest. According to Boatman, his client’s car was broken into, and several personal items were stolen, including items with GPS tracking. When the former athlete confronted the perpetrator, the situation quickly escalated, and shots were fired.
Shawn Kemp’s defensive attorney corrects misinformation and says the client acted in self-defense.
“On Thursday, Mr. Kemp tracked his iPhone to an occupied vehicle in a shopping mall parking lot in Tacoma. When [he] approached the vehicle in an attempt to retrieve his stolen property, individuals inside the vehicle shot at [him], who then returned fire in self-defense,” the lawyer detailed.
“There was not a drive-by shooting as previously reported, and Mr. Kemp’s actions were reasonable and legally justified,” the attorney continued, further explaining the events that transpired. “Mr. Kemp met with law enforcement at the scene in an attempt to assist in the matter.”
The NBA player played in the league for a total of 14 seasons and closed out his career with an average of 14.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists over 1,051 games. He is most notable for his time with the Seattle SuperSonics from 1989 to 1997. After retiring from professional basketball in 2003, he went on to establish two cannabis shops in Seattle.
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