ICE agent cleared in suit over Kellom shooting death
A federal jury Monday cleared an ICE agent in a wrongful death lawsuit over the fatal shooting of Detroiter Terrence Kellom four years ago.
The agent, Mitchell Quinn, said he was acting in self-defense when he shot 20-year-old Kellom to death in his parents' northwest Detroit home on April 27, 2015. Quinn has alleged that Kellom threatened him with a hammer.
Attorney Nabih Ayad, the family's attorney, has maintained that a veteran Detroit police officer, Darrell Fitzgerald, recanted after initially reporting that Kellom had a hammer, Ayad said.
Kellom's father walked out of the 8th floor-courtroom of U.S. District Judge Sean Cox in tears after Monday's verdict in the $50 million lawsuit the family filed in April 2017.
"Please tell me how is it right?" Kevin Kellom said as he was held by a female relative. "He killed my son. My son was shot in my face. He gunned my son down and then got away with it."
U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said Monday that evidence demonstrated that Quinn was defending himself when he shot Terrence Kellom.
"While the loss of life in this case was tragic, the evidence clearly established that Agent Quinn acted in self-defense," he said. "We are thankful that the jury carefully reviewed the evidence and agreed."
Quinn was deputized at the time of the shooting as a U.S. Marshals task force officer, Schneider said.
Kellom was shot after officers from the Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team went to the home in the 9500 block of Evergreen, looking for him on an arrest warrant in connection with the alleged robbery of a pizza delivery man weeks earlier. When the fugitive apprehension team arrived at his house, Kellom was wielding a hammer, Detroit police Chief James Craig told The Detroit News at the time.
Kellom allegedly brandished a rifle and stole cash and pizzas from a 39-year-old delivery man March 31, 2015, on Detroit’s east side, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, which declined to file charges against Quinn.
“On Aug. 19, 2015, Prosecutor (Kym) Worthy announced there was no evidence to warrant criminal charges against ICE Officer Mitchell Quinn. At this time her position has not changed,” said Maria Miller, an assistant Wayne County prosecutor and spokeswoman for Worthy.
The team targeted Kellom because he was a fugitive who fled from probation in August for carrying concealed weapons, authorities have said. The shooting sparked protests, including by supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Ayad said he was "truly shocked" by the decision of the eight-person jury and plans to appeal.
"Jurors had all the evidence ... the testimony," he said as he left the courthouse. "(Federal lawyers) painted the deceased as a hardened criminal and the jury stuck to that."