UPDATED: 8 a.m. ET, March 10
Felony drive-by shooting charges have been dropped against former NBA player Shawn Kemp, who was released from jail Thursday, one day after participating in a reported exchange of gunfire in a mall parking lot in Tacoma, Washington.
An investigation into the shooting is ongoing and ESPN reported that “no charges were immediately being filed,” suggesting that the door is still open for a possible indictment by the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office.
Kemp acted in self-defense, his lawyer has maintained.
Video footage posted to social media showing Kemp firing shots and the immediate aftermath of the shooting has since gone viral.
The turn of events suggest with Kemp’s release and charges dropped suggest that he was acting within the limits of Washington state’s self-defense laws that permit such actions to protect oneself from violence.
The shocking news that former NBA star Shawn Kemp was arrested for an alleged drive-by shooting in Washington State is drawing attention to local gun laws as law enforcement investigates the claims.
The 53-year-old who became an all-star basketball player while leading the Seattle Supersonics back in the 1990s was booked on Wednesday into the Pierce County Jail in Tacoma hours after allegedly exchanging gunfire from his car with another driver he said he suspected of stealing his property.
Kemp was hit with a drive-by shooting charge, which is a felony. If convicted, Kemp could be sent to prison for up to 10 years and pay a $20,000 fine. It was not immediately clear whether any additional criminal charges would be tacked on.
Local news outlet Fox 13 reported that “the shooting was in self-defense,” citing anonymous sources.
“Sources close to Kemp told FOX 13’s David Rose that he had property stolen from his car on Tuesday, tracked his iPhone to Tacoma on Wednesday and when he approached the vehicle, a suspect shot at him,” Fox 13 reported. “He fired back in self-defense.”
The other driver, who was not immediately identified, reportedly drive away while Kemp stayed at the scene. No injuries were reported.
A gun was recovered at the scene. Kemp was still taken into custody and arrested in spite of the reported assertion of self-defense that appears to be permitted under Washington state law.
Video footage of Kemp firing a gun in the parking lot was posted to social media. One brief clip shows Kemp not in any car and shooting, but it is unclear what came before he fired the gun while surrounded by cars.
The video draws into question what constitutes a “drive-by shooting,” the felony charge that Kemp faces.
Another clip shows Kemp standing in the parking lot purportedly following the shooting as the sound of approaching police sirens could be heard in the background.
TMZ reported that the video footage came after other shots were fired not by Kemp.
53-year-old Kemp — wearing a red vest — approached a vehicle and pointed his firearm … appearing to yell something before pulling the trigger at least once outside a Tacoma, Washington shopping mall around 2:00 PM.
Witnesses tell us they heard multiple gunshots before pulling their phones out to record the incident … and claim they saw Kemp drive around the parking lot and ditched his gun in a bush before talking to police.
At one point, Kemp appears to attempt to flag down police to go after the other vehicle involved.
According to Section 9A.16.110 of Washington state law that addresses defending against violent crime, “No person in the state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting by any reasonable means necessary, himself or herself, his or her family, or his or her real or personal property.”
The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence cited a legal precedent that at face value would play in Kemp’s favor.
“Though Washington does not have a stand your ground statute, the state supreme court has held that there is no duty to retreat before using force in public,” the Giffords Law Center said on its website.
In 2003, for instance, the state of Washington ruled that “there is no duty to retreat when a person is assaulted in a place where he or she has a right to be.”
Stand your ground-styled laws that allow for self-defense and even lethal force under certain circumstances have routinely been selectively applied in cases involving Black people.
Most recently, a Louisiana store clerk was charged with manslaughter after he shot and killed an armed robber in January. The clerk told police he feared for his life but he’s still not being protected by the state’s so-called “stand your ground” law that allows people to use deadly force in self-defense.
Now, compare that to the case of a former police captain — a 71-year-old white man — instigating a deadly incident with another moviegoer but then claimed because of his age and seated position, he was afraid of being attacked. Curtis Reeves ended up shooting a man to death in the theater over a bag of popcorn being thrown and criticism over texting. Reeves was found not guilty last year by a Florida jury.
And last year, William Marcus ‘Marc’ Wilson, a young Black man, was found guilty of manslaughter despite his consistent claims that he used his legally owned gun to fire fatal shots at a “truckload of belligerent racists” trying to run him off the road in Georgia. Wilson is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence after his conviction.
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Did Shawn Kemp Stand His Ground? Drive-By Charges Dropped As Shooting Videos Go Viral was originally published on newsone.com
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