Shawn Kemp, former NBA star, charged with first-degree assault

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Former NBA star Shawn Kemp. ctpost.com
Former NBA star Shawn Kemp. ctpost.com

Former NBA star Shawn Kemp will plead not guilty to the first-degree assault charges filed against him on Friday, in connection with a shooting near a Tacoma shopping mall in March. 

The 53-year-old Kemp was arrested last month after the incident but was released the following day with no charges filed. Kemp's defense attorney Tim Leary, quoted by the Washington Post, says he will be arraigned on May 4 however, he will plead not guilty to the charges.

Late Tuesday evening, Shawn Kemp’s vehicle was broken into and his iPhone and other items were stolen, according to attorney W. Scott Boatman. Boatman last month said 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, and he returned fire in self-defense.

However, according to a probable cause statement filed by Tacoma police, some of Kemp’s statements were not verified by surveillance video. 

Kemp also sent a text message 13 minutes before he arrived at the mall writing, “I’m about to shoot this [expletive].” 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.

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