DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A federal agent under investigation for fatally shooting a wanted Detroit man inside a home has been in trouble with the law before — he faced criminal charges seven years ago while working as a Detroit police officer.
A report by the Detroit News says Mitchell Quinn was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and felony firearm in February 2008 after pointing a department-issued handgun at his wife’s head during an argument about emails. His now ex-wife, a fellow Detroit police officer, was uninjured in the incident.
The charges were dismissed, but Quinn left the Detroit Police Department and joined the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency a few months later, ultimately getting assigned to the Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team.
Quinn, 39, was part of a task force that was sent to capture 20-year old Terrance Kellom on Monday afternoon. Authorities said Kellom, a habitual offender, had fled while on probation and was wanted as a suspect in the armed robbery of a pizza delivery man.
When agents arrived at a home on Detroit’s west side, in the 9500 block of Evergreen near W. Chicago, Kellom was reportedly hiding inside. When finally confronted by agents, investigators say Kellom was armed with a hammer — though his family members have disputed that. Quinn, “faced with a threat,” fired his weapon at Kellom several times “as [Quinn] was retreating,” according to police.
An autopsy determined that Kellom died of multiple gunshot wounds. His death has been classified a homicide, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Quinn, a seven-year veteran of ICE who spent 12 years with Detroit police, is on administrative leave during the investigation into the shooting — which is agency policy.
U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said her office will be closely monitoring the investigation by Detroit police.
“Police work sometimes requires use of deadly force, but officers may use only as much force as is reasonable under the circumstances,” McQuade said in a statement. “In a situation like this, it is important to protect the rights of both the deceased and the officer.”
Meantime, the Detroit Police Commissioner has requested that Police Chief James Craig appear before the commission to discuss his department’s role on the fugitive apprehension task force.
“We need to know what the DPD policy on employment of deadly force is and whether the DPD should participate on any task force that may not place a premium on human life,” Commissioner Willie Burton said in a statement. “Be clear. I support our police and I support the effort of law enforcement to make our streets safe for all but we must know what role DPD has with the Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team. … We don’t need a Baltimore in Detroit.”
Chief Craig said he plans to hold a community meeting Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Grace Community Church, located at 20021 W. Chicago.
Kellom’s death comes amid a national debate over police conduct, particularly toward black men, since black 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri last August. Violence erupted in Baltimore this week over a black man who died there in police custody. Kellom was black, as is the ICE agent who shot him.
“They executed my son in my face,” Kellom’s father, Kevin, said during a rally and protest march on Tuesday. “My son died with a clenched fist, no hammer. My son reached for me and got shot. I want justice, I’m going to get justice. I promised him that, and I’m promising his mother that. I’m not going to stop until I get justice for my son.”
ICE said Monday that Kellom was wanted on armed robbery and weapons charges. He was listed as a probation absconder on the state Corrections website. Kellom was sentenced to probation in December 2013 after pleading guilty to an October 2013 attempted carrying a concealed weapon case.
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