The father of a Detroit man who was killed by a federal agent lashed out at law enforcement today, saying his son was unarmed when he was gunned down in his home in the middle of the day, right in front of him.
“My son died with clenched fists. He didn’t have a hammer … They assassinated my son in my face,” Kevin Kellom said just moments ago during a rally on the city’s west side.
Kellom disputed police claims that his 20-year-old son, Terrance, had a hammer in his hand when a federal agent approached him in his house.
According to police, a fugitive task force had gone to the house at about 1 p.m. Monday to execute an arrest warrant for Terrance Kellom, a habitual offender who had fled while on probation and was wanted as a suspect in the armed robbery of a pizza delivery man. Police said when the task force arrived at the house, Kellom was hiding in the attic. Authorities told the father that they had an arrest warrant for his son, and that the father let them inside, police said.
But Kevin Kellom tells a different story.
He said his son was never in hiding, and that police told him they had a search warrant to enter the home. He said the search warrant didn’t materialize until three hours after his son was shot and killed.
“I don’t understand why my son was killed,” Kellom said. “My son did not deserve this.”
According to an official close to the investigation, Monday’s fatal shooting started out as a domestic situation in which a woman called police earlier in the day to report a domestic dispute of some sort involving Kellom. The woman told police where they could find Kellom, who was wanted on a four-count warrant as a suspect in the armed robbery of a pizza driver, the source said.
That call led a fugitive task force to a home on the city’s west side. During the raid, police said, Kellom advanced toward the agent with a hammer and the agent fired as he was backing up, the source said, noting five people were in the house at the time it happened.
“The agent felt that he was in imminent danger because the suspect was advancing on him in possession of this hammer,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig said earlier today. “He responded to overcome the suspect’s actions and used deadly force.”
According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, Kellom had fled in August from probation, which he was serving for a 2013 weapons offense.
On Monday, Detroit Police Sgt. Cassandra Lewis said the task force had gone to a home to arrest the suspect. She said “there was no forced entry” and the ICE officer “was faced with a threat and made the decision to use lethal force to eliminate the threat.”
“This family has been hit with loss after loss,” said Nikki Horton, Kellom’s sister-in-law, who noted Kellom’s grandmother, grandfather, uncle and a cousin all died in the past two years.
“There is no way that he would have threatened an officer, especially physically,” Horton said. “He was smarter than that. He would never do that, especially in front of his family.”
According to Horton, Kellom was “in the process of turning his life around.” He had a baby and another one on the way, she said.
“We all got saved recently, and we were encouraging (Kellom) to do the same,” she said of the family’s religious ties.