Shawn Kemp charged with assault for March shooting

Former NBA star Shawn Kemp.
Former NBA star Shawn Kemp.

Former NBA star Shawn Kemp will plead not guilty to the charges after being charged with first-degree assault on Friday.

Washington state prosecutors charged Kemp on Friday in connection with shooting near a Tacoma shopping mall in March. The former player was arrested last month after the incident. However, he was released the following day with no charges filed.

The 53-year-old Kemp will be arraigned on May 4 and will plead not guilty to the charges, according to his defense attorney Tim Leary, quoted by the Washington Post.

Kemp’s attorneys have disputed the charge of drive-by shooting, arguing that he fired a weapon in self-defense after being shot at first.

Late Tuesday evening, Shawn Kemp’s vehicle was broken into and his iPhone and other items were stolen, according to attorney W. Scott Boatman. Kemp tracked his iPhone to an occupied vehicle in a shopping mall parking lot in Tacoma. When he approached the vehicle in an attempt to retrieve his stolen property, individuals inside the vehicle shot at him, he then returned fire in self-defense.

According to a probable cause statement filed by Tacoma police, some of Kemp’s statements were not corroborated by surveillance video, and he sent a text message 13 minutes before he arrived at the mall writing, “I’m about to shoot this [expletive].” 

Kemp, who is known for his powerful dunks and athleticism during his 14-year NBA career, played the majority of his career for the Seattle SuperSonics, before the franchise moved to Oklahoma City in 2008 and was renamed the Thunder. He currently operates two cannabis shops in Seattle.

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