Prosecutors: Withhold autopsy report in ICE shooting

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — Wayne County prosecutors have requested the autopsy report of a 20-year-old man who was fatally shot by a federal agent last week be withheld from the public because they say releasing the findings could interfere with their investigation.

Terrance Kellom's autopsy was conducted last week, and Wayne County Medical Examiner's spokesman Ryan Bridges said his death was ruled a homicide as the result of multiple gunshot wounds.

But on Monday, the medical examiner's chief investigator, William Kasper, told The Detroit News the report is not available to the public or Karri Mitchell, attorney for the Kellom family.

"The report is ready, but it's being held indefinitely until further notice on orders from the prosecutor's office," Kasper said. "They don't want it released."

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller confirmed her office doesn't want the report to be made public yet.

"We believe the release of the information could interfere with our ability to investigate the case," Miller said. When asked how releasing the report could impede the probe, she said: "There's certain information in the report that could interfere."

The decision to withhold the report was criticized by Detroit Police Commissioner Ricardo Moore.

"The prosecutor's convenience in this investigation should not outweigh the public trust," Moore said. "I strongly encourage Prosecutor (Kym) Worthy to release the autopsy report as expeditiously as possible."

Kellom was shot April 27 in the hallway of his home in the 9500 block of Evergreen. Officers with a multijurisdictional task force that included city, suburban and federal officers had gone to the house to arrest him for the alleged armed robbery of a pizza delivery man March 31.

Police say Kellom lunged with a hammer before he was shot by Mitchell Quinn, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer. Kellom's father, Kevin, who says he witnessed the shooting, insists his son's hands were empty.

After the shooting, investigators recovered seven shell casings from the scene, along with a claw hammer with a wooden handle, according to a search warrant return Kevin Kellom provided to The Detroit News.

All the officers who were at the scene, including Quinn, gave statements last week to Detroit police investigators, who turned the probe over to prosecutors to determine whether charges will be filed.

"The family respects the decision of the prosecutor that they want a thorough investigation," Mitchell said Monday.

Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality president Ron Scott said there may be inflammatory information in the autopsy report.

"That's the only reason I can think of why they wouldn't want that report to be made public: There's something that will make people highly upset about this, and in the wake of (riots in) Baltimore, they don't want it out there," Scott said.

"With (Terrance Kellom's) funeral about to be held (Wednesday), it would be important for the family and the people in the community to know the facts. I think there may be concern there's something very challenging in this report."

Although autopsy reports are sometimes released during investigations by the prosecutor, Miller said they are withheld "in certain circumstances."

Footage from two video cameras inside the Kellom home could shed light on what happened. One camera is affixed to the top of a stairway, near the path of the shooting scene at the foot of the stairs; while a second camera, in the living room, is trained near the doorway where Kevin Kellom said the ICE agent stood when he opened fire.

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