April 15, 2023

Ex-NBA star Shawn Kemp charged with assault in March shooting

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SEATTLE — Prosecutors in Washington state charged former NBA star Shawn Kemp on Friday with first-degree assault in a parking lot shooting last month over a stolen cell phone, saying that a text message Kemp sent just before the shooting showed his intent to confront and shoot the person who had allegedly stolen from him.

Kemp was arrested after the shooting outside the Tacoma Mall on March 8. No one was injured, and Kemp’s lawyers have insisted he returned fire in self defense after tracking and trying to retrieve a cell phone that had been stolen from him earlier that day.

However, a probable cause statement by Tacoma police, filed in Pierce County Superior Court on Friday, did not indicate Kemp was shot at.

It said some of his statements were not corroborated by surveillance or other video evidence, and that the text message sent just 13 minutes before he arrived in the parking lot showed his intent.

For example, the probable cause document said, Kemp told police that after being shot at, he went back to his own vehicle, parked several spots away, to get his own gun. But the video showed that he was armed with the weapon when he approached the parked Toyota 4Runner where he had tracked his phone.

Kemp is due to be arraigned May 4.

Kemp, who has two licensed cannabis stores in Seattle, was a six-time NBA all-star and played for the Seattle SuperSonics from 1989 to 1997. He also played for Cleveland, Portland and Orlando.

Kemp made his NBA debut during the 1989-90 season as a 20-year-old who had never played college basketball. He became known for his high-flying dunks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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