Former Seattle SuperSonics star Shawn Kemp is facing one count of first-degree assault in a shooting last month outside a mall in Tacoma, Washington, according to the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Kemp, 53, was first arrested hours after the March 8 incident in what online court records and a Pierce County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson labeled a drive-by shooting outside the mall. But the prosecutor announced the next day no immediate charges would be filed and the former NBA star was released.
On Friday, that changed and charges were filed against Kemp, with court documents alleging he “did with intent to inflict great bodily harm, intentionally assault another person with a firearm or deadly weapon or by any force or means likely to produce great bodily harm or death.”
Kemp’s attorney said his client intends to plead not guilty.
“He has been fully cooperative with the police and the prosecutor’s office throughout this process,” attorney Tim Leary said. “He is confident that once the jury hears from the witnesses and sees the evidence at trial, they will conclude that he was justified in defending himself that afternoon.”
An arraignment for the charge is scheduled May 4, according to the prosecuting attorney’s office. Assault in the first degree is a Class A felony in Washington.
In the probable cause declaration for the charge, a detective “reported that the defendant’s account of the shooting at the Tacoma Mall included statements that were not corroborated by the surveillance video.”
“Kemp was adamant in his interview that he had retreated to his vehicle after he was shot at, and then shot back at (people in another vehicle). However, the video clearly showed Kemp getting the revolver out of the backpack as soon as he gets out of his Porsche,” the document states.
According to the court documents with a summary of the video footage, Kemp, who was in a Porsche, appears to have exited his car and then fired a weapon at a Toyota 4Runner that he parked a few spots away from in the parking lot of the mall.
Responding officers found a .357 caliber revolver in a bush, and authorities say a witness provided a video of the shooting, which showed a tall Black man in a “red puffy vest, firing shots.” Authorities say in the court documents that Kemp was identified “as the person in the video.”
Kemp, a six-time NBA All-Star, played 14 seasons in the league from 1989 to 2003, notably for the Seattle SuperSonics for his first eight years. Debuting one year out of high school, he was one of few players at that time to have been drafted without playing in college.
The star power forward helped Seattle to the 1996 NBA Finals, where the Sonics fell to the Chicago Bulls. Kemp also played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trail Blazers and Orlando Magic.
He is a businessman living in the Seattle area, according to CNN affiliate KING-TV.