A federal agent who shot and killed a 20-year-old man during a raid on a Detroit home last week said he was in fear for his life because the man had lunged at him with a hammer.
But the man’s father, who witnessed the shooting, said his son was kneeling at the top of the stairs when the agent fired multiple times.
And a surveillance video camera that may have captured the shooting has been confiscated by police, who are now refusing to release the footage to the family or their lawyer.
Nevertheless, police say we must trust them that the shooting was justified.
After all, it’s not like federal agent Mitchell Quinn has a criminal record or anything, despite the fact that he was arrested in 2008 for holding a gun to his wife’s head.
Mitchell was a Detroit cop at the time as was his wife, but he left the department after a judge dismissed his case, taking on a job as a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officer.
Last week, he was part of the Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Task Force, a team made up of local, state and federal law enforcement officers, when they raided the home of Kevin Kellom, the father of Terrance Kellom.
The younger Kellom was suspected of robbing a pizza delivery man in early April, so the task force had a warrant for his arrest. They did not, however, have a search warrant to enter the home, but that apparently doesn’t make a difference if they had a reasonable belief that he was in the home.
This is how Kevin Kellom explained it to Michigan Live:
Kellom, recollecting what led to the shooting, said he, his fiance, Terrance Kellom, his son’s girlfriend, his daughter and his daughter’s fiance were in the house when Kevin Kellom saw a black truck pull into the driveway.
The father says, at the time on the second floor, he came downstairs and saw three or four faces in the window.
“He said, ‘Open the door,’ I said, ‘for what,'” Kevin Kellom said. “I said, ‘Why are you here’ … and he said, ‘Open the door mother (expletive) or we’re going to knock it down.'”
Police asked Kevin Kellom who was inside. He admits to lying. He never mentioned his son.
At that point at least two police went upstairs, where they remained for between five and 10 minutes.
At one point, Kevin Kellom says he hears an officer yell, “Freeze, show me your hands.”
“Immediately they’re bringing (my son) downstairs to the hallway and I hear the officer saying, ‘show me your hands, show me your hands,'” the father said. “They’re tying to usher me to the dining room. They don’t want me to see what’s going on.”
Kevin Kellom says he heard his son verbally berating the officers. Kevin Kellom told his son from across the living room to cooperate, he says.
“He had his hands in his pockets,” said Kevin Kellom. “He pulled his hands out of his pockets, he stretched his hands out with his palms open toward me as he said, ‘But, Dad.’
“I hear pop, pop. I hear two gunshots.”
Kellom said he “went crazy” and struggled as an officer was able to get a handcuff on one of his wrists.
“You shot my son,” Kevin Kellom says he yelled. “He didn’t do nothing.”
Kellom said seconds later, as he continued to struggle, he heard another string of gunshots and looked into his son’s face and and watched him take his last breaths.
“He didn’t put on the handcuffs until he was shot dead,” the father said.
Here is Quinn’s version as told by his attorney to the Detroit Free Press:
The Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Task Force received a tip that Kellom was at a home on Evergreen. Kellom was wanted as a suspect in the armed robbery of a pizza delivery man.
When the task force showed up, some officers went inside. Quinn and others stayed outside to watch the house.
Two officers went into the attic, Griem said, and found Kellom there and called for backup.
” ‘We’re up in the attic. He’s got a weapon and we need backup,’ ” Griem said, recounting what Quinn told him.
Quinn entered the house. Another officer followed him. Griem said his client heard them saying, “Put it down. Put it down.” Then: “He’s gone. he’s fleeing.”
Quinn told his lawyer that he heard a heavy noise from a back room in the hallway. He saw a doorway covered by a blanket.
“Just as he gets to the doorway, a hand reaches out,” Griem says. “He sees the hand, pushes the blanket aside and Kellom rushes through the open doorway with a hammer extended over his head.”
At that point, Griem said, Quinn was “just two feet from the doorway.” The agent backed up and pulled his revolver and ordered Kellom to stop and put his hands in the air.
“And Kellom keeps coming. Kellom is now within touching distance, the hammer is being waved,” Griem said.
That’s when Quinn fired the first shot, his attorney said.
“His thought was that one shot would slow him up. But it didn’t slow him up,” Griem said, adding that Kellom kept coming toward Quinn.
“He fires several more times as he’s falling backwards, trying to get out of the way. He’s not sure if he tripped over his own feet, or tripped over an object,” Griem said. “After he fires several more shots, Kellom falls forward and falls on top of him.”
According to Griem, a second officer was behind Quinn and had pulled his firearm. He would have fired except that Quinn was in the way, he said.
The incident took place in the early afternoon of April 27. Later that evening, they returned with a search warrant and seized three surveillance cameras, including one that Kevin Kellom believes captured the shooting.
Meanwhile, Quinn, still fearing for his life, has gone into hiding. And although an autopsy has been conducted, prosecutors are not releasing the results because a it could “interfere with the investigation.”