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A fatal shooting of a 20-year-old man in his home by the Michigan Police has become even more controversial, after a surveillance video that may have captured the incident being been seized by police. The federal agent responsible for the fatal shooting, which occured during a Detroit home raid, feared for his life as the young man had allegedly lunged at him with a hammer. However; according to the young man’s father who saw the incident, his son did not lunge at the police but instea, was on the top of the stairs, kneeling when the police officer allegedly fired multiple times.
Police say that they should be trusted that the fatal shooting was justified, and therefore have refused to release the potential video evidence to the young man’s family or their lawyer. In a further twist, the agent in question (Mitchell Quinn) held a gun to his wife’s head, which he was later arrested for in 2008. A Detroit cop at the time of this incident, he became an enforcement officer for the U.S. Immigration and Customs department, after a judge had dismissed his case. Quinn then became a task force member of the Detroit Fugitive Apprehension group, made up of law enforcement officers from federal, local and state departments.
On 27 April, this task force had a warrant for the arrest of the young man, Terrance Kellom, who was a suspect in the robbery of a pizza deliverer earlier that month. The law enforcement officers did not have a warrant to search the premises, or enter the home, that is owned by Kellom’s father, Kevin Kellom. However, they had a reasonable belief that the young Kellom was at home during the raid.
Kellom’s father told Michigan Live that two police officers, at the very least, went upstairs and one of them had yelled “Freeze, show me your hands.” The officers then proceeded to bring his son down to the ground floor, repeating “show me your hands,” a couple of times. The young Kellom was verbally abusing the officers, and had his hands in his pockets. He pulled them out and placed his palms open. Then, two gunshots went off. His son continued to struggle, as an officer was able to get a handcuff on one of his wrists before more gunshots were fired. He watched his son die, then an officer proceeded to put the handcuffs on the young man.
Quinn’s attorney told his client’s version of the fatal shooting to the Detroit Free Press. The task force had received notice that their robbery suspect was at an Evergreen home. They arrived at the home, with some officers going inside to find their suspect in the attic, while Quinn, and other law enforcement officers stayed on the outskirts of the property to keep an eye on the home. The officers inside had requested backup when they saw Kellom with a weapon. Quinn and another officer entered the home when he heard his colleagues yelling to the suspect to put the object down, when the suspect started to flee. Quinn saw a blanket-covered doorway and as he approached it, a hand reached out. Kellom then rushed through the doorway, with a hammer in his hands. Quinn retreated and went for his gun while telling Kellom to raise his hands and stop moving, but the agent’s orders were ignored and the suspect kept coming towards him with the hammer in hand. Quinn fired a shot in the hope that would slow the young Kellom down, but it did not work. The agent fired more shots prior to Kellom falling. This was the result of the fatal shooting, which involved police officers from Michigan.
Police returned later that night with a search warrant and confiscated a number of surveillance cameras, of which Kellom’s father believed had evidence of the fatal shooting. The autopsy of the young man has been conducted, but the results have not been released, because it has been cited that it may interfere with the investigation into the fatal shooting. Quinn, along with his family, have now gone into hiding, at his lawyer’s advice, fearing for their lives.
Michigan’s branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, along with other groups, have called for the task force’s suspension. The union wants funding to the task force stopped until investigations into the incident prove that members pose no threat to neighborhoods they enter. The investigation into the fatal shooting of the young man by the Michigan Police continues.
By Rebecca Brown
Click on Detroit
Photo by Elvert Barnes – Creativecommons Flickr License