Craig: Shot Detroit suspect was 'armed with hammer'
Detroit — The 20-year-old armed robbery suspect who was fatally shot by a federal agent on Monday was "armed with a hammer," Detroit's police chief said Tuesday.
The shooting, on the city's west side, angered residents who had to be placated by the city's police chief.
The Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team, a task force that included officers from the Detroit Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Marshals, were serving an armed robbery warrant in the 9500 block of Evergreen at the time of the shooting around 1:13 p.m., Detroit Police Chief James Craig said.
The officers were allowed into the home to conduct their search, Craig said.
The incident comes at a time of heightened tension between police and black communities in some U.S. cities, spurring a national debate about race and police tactics.
In the Detroit incident, the suspect was black, as was the federal agent who shot him.
Craig told WJR-AM (760) on Tuesday that said the suspect brandished a hammer. There was no evidence a gun was involved, he said. The agent fired his weapon as he was retreating, Craig said.
The suspect was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead.
"Any time an ICE officer or special agent discharges their firearm in the line of duty, the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility reviews the matter," agency spokesman Khaalid Walls said in a written statement. "Due to this ongoing review, no further details will be released at this time."
Craig said he was called to the scene by Assistant Police Chief Steve Dolunt after a crowd gathered and became agitated.
Television cameras captured officers holding back people as they tried to maneuver past yellow crime scene tape.
"They were very excited," Craig told The Detroit News.
Craig met with family members of the man who was killed. Television cameras rolled as he explained to them and dozens crowded around him: "It's tragic. Any time a parent loses their child, it's a tragedy. I'm committed that the investigation will be thorough, and I will have a conversation with the prosecutor's office."
Teria Kellom said her brother Terrance Kellom was fatally shot. He was staying at his father's house when officers arrived, saying they had a search warrant, she said.
Her father first told police his son wasn't there, Kellom said. She said she asked to see the search warrant and officers told her they would show her father the warrant after family members left the home. Officers then went inside to search for her brother, Kellom said.
"The last thing I heard was: 'Come out or I'll shoot.' " Kellom said. "They shot him 10 times. They shot him and then they put the handcuffs on him."
Craig said the suspect was wanted for armed robbery of a pizza deliveryman, felony firearm and as an habitual offender.
According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, Kellom absconded from probation in August for a carrying concealed weapons conviction in 2013. According to his MDOC file, Kellom was 5-foot-10 and 145 pounds.
"His father, who was at the scene, was also wanted for a nonviolent felony ... a fraud case," Craig said. "We decided not to arrest him because of the circumstances. We can always pick him up later; we decided to let him properly grieve for his son."
Several police cars and caution tape blocked off Evergreen at West Chicago on the otherwise busy street with vinyl-sided bungalows.
One man in the crowd yelled: "The (ICE agent) shot that guy for no reason."
Craig told him: "We're going to interview all the witnesses. I can't say what happened."
Craig said the federal agent involved in the shooting is African-American.
After the incident, Craig told The News members of the crowd had expressed concerns about controversial officer-related shootings nationally.
"They had some issues about police-involved shootings in other parts of the country," Craig said. "Just by talking to them, they calmed down."
Ron Scott of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality took issue with the shooting Monday, saying fugitive apprehension is not a license to kill.
"In light of national incidents, we find this latest shooting appalling, distressing and despicable that another young black man has to be killed in his house in front of his family with multiple gunshots," Scott said in a statement. "The coalition is working with the family ... We demand, and we will obtain, justice in this case."
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General will investigate the incident, while Detroit Police conduct a criminal investigation, Craig said.
Detroit Police Commissioner Ricardo Moore, who represents District 7 where the shooting occurred, offered his condolences and said he will ask for details about the task force.
"My heart goes out to the ... family and the community on this situation," Moore said in a statement. "I would like to see the facts presented forthright, beginning with the task force Memorandum of Understanding."
Craig said he expects to hold a meeting with community residents within 48 hours.