DETROIT (WWJ) – After months of investigating, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office says no criminal charges will be brought in a case involving the shooting death of a 20-year-old Detroit man by a federal agent.
Prosecutor Kym Worthy revealed her decision Wednesday. She’s been investigating the case since April, when Terrance Kellom was shot and killed by an ICE agent during a raid at Kellom’s west side home. The ICE agent involved in the shooting, Mitchell Quinn, says Kellom lunged at him with a hammer.READ MORE: Michigan Public Service Commission Says The State Won't Be Affected By Gas Shortage
“I have concluded that the totality of the evidence supports Agent Quinn’s versions of the events and that Terrance Kellom’s fatal shooting was justified by the law of self-defense and the defense of others,” said Worthy. “And as a result, no charges will be authorized against Agent Quinn in this case.”
Kellom, a habitual offender who fled while on probation, was wanted as a suspect in the armed robbery of a pizza delivery man. His death came amid a national debate over police conduct — particularly toward black men. Kellom was black, as is Quinn.
“Yes, black lives matter,” Worthy said. “Of course they matter. But you know what else matters? Credible facts matter. Supportable evidence matters. Provable evidence matters. Doing justice matters and the truth matters.”
When agents arrived at his 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. Quinn, “faced with a threat,” fired his weapon at Kellom several times “as [Quinn] was retreating,” according to police.
Kellom’s family, who was in the home at the time, told a different version of events. Kellom’s father, Kevin, was very visible in the media in the days after the shooting. He told reporters: “They executed my son in my face. My son died with a clenched fist, no hammer. My son reached for me and got shot.”
Worthy said he told similar stories to investigators.
“Initially, he says that the police took him into the kitchen/dining room area,” said Worthy.” Later, he changed his story and says he was in the living room and saw Terrance Kellom being brought down the stairs by four officers, uncuffed, with his hands in his pockets. Once Terrance Kellom was downstairs, Kevin Kellom says that his son raised his hands over his head and then is shot twice by agent Quinn, who was in front of him.”
Worthy went on to say that Kevin Kellom claimed that blood sprayed out of his son’s body onto both sides of the hallway as he staggered backward, then forward, dropping to his knees.
“Kevin Kellom further says that when Terrance Kellom was on his knees, that he was shot eight more times. Kevin Kellom has repeatedly told the media that his son was shot 10 times … that he never had a weapon in his hands, that his hands were open before the first two shots and then clenched into fists after that,” said Worthy.
An autopsy determined Terrance Kellom was shot multiple times, but Worthy had ordered the report not be made public. She said Wednesday that a total of seven shots were fired, four of which struck Terrance Kellom.READ MORE: Five Michigan Students Named 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars
“Terrance Kellom has no injuries consistent with being shot in the prone position, nor any from close range firing,” said Worthy.
An autopsy showed that Kellom received a gunshot wound to the neck, shoulder, posterior flank and thigh.
“The blood spatter patterns confirm that Terrance Kellom continued to advance toward the living room despite being shot already,” said Worthy. “There were no patterns that show any movement away from the living room, as Kevin Kellom describes. Terrance Kellom, therefore, could not have been shot at the base of the stairs and his blood could not have spurted out of his chest to the sides as Kevin Kellom claimed. That just did not happen.”
Worthy also went through multiple pieces of evidence that disproved the family’s account. She displayed a photo of the claw hammer found at the scene, which contained a partial fingerprint and blood.
“This was found in the living room right next to where his body fell,” Worthy said of the hammer. “The DNA analysis that the Michigan State Police did, shows that the blood on the claw hammer was indeed Terrance Kellom’s.”
Worthy said she’s “not afraid” to charge law enforcement officers with a crime — she has before and she will again — but only when the facts call for it.
“There are severe problems in the country with African American men being beaten, killed, maimed and otherwise assaulted by the police. This is an ugly fact for black, usually young men and even some women, in America. We cannot hide from this truth as a country. I will never hide from that truth,” she said. “This case is a case where a young man was the subject of a domestic violence police run the day before his contact with Agent Quinn. He violated his probation on a gun charges and was also wanted for an extremely violent felony and two more gun charges… Facts. That’s what this case is about.”
Kevin Kellom said he’s disappointed and saddened by Worthy’s decision not to charge Quinn. The family is planning a to file a civil lawsuit.
“I’m very upset…that’s upsetting; that was my son. It hurts,” Kellom told reporters. “I mean, I’d hoped it didn’t go that way”
“She need to do her investigation and do a little more,” he added. “Nothing she said was right. My son didn’t have a hammer.”MORE NEWS: Beaumont & Other Metro Detroit Clinics Begin Pfizer Vaccinations For Ages 12 & Up
Quinn, a seven-year veteran of ICE who spent 12 years with Detroit police, was briefly placed administrative leave during the investigation but has since returned to work.