Justice

Hours After Freddie Gray’s Funeral, An Immigration Agent Killed A Black Man In Detroit

CREDIT: AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Detroit Police Chief James Craig

Terrence Kellum, a 20-year-old black man, was reportedly unarmed when an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent shot and killed him at home in Detroit, Michigan on Monday.

The unnamed ICE agent, also a black man, was a member of a multi-agency fugitive task force operation, known as the Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team (DFAT), attempting to serve an armed robbery warrant at the Kellum residence when the shooting happened. Officers entered the residence to conduct their search, but the agent was “faced with a threat” and opened fire, Detroit Police Sgt. Cassandra Lewis said, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“There was no forced entry,” Lewis said. “One of the ICE officers was faced with a threat and made the decision to use lethal force to eliminate the threat.”

Kellum’s father said in an interview with a local ABC affiliate that his son was unarmed. “He was standing like this. Boom he fell right here,” Kellum’s father said, reenacting his son’s shooting. “I watched him right there. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. … At least five or six more shots. … They were shooting my son.”

Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who visited the Kellums after the shooting, also told reporters, “I am told there was no forced entry into the residence, that they were allowed inside. … And I’m also told that the agent may have been faced with a threat, and it was at that point when he decided to use deadly force.”

A local CBS affiliate reported that a woman shouted at Craig, “It was 10 bullets…and did it take 10 bullets? When he came out, they didn’t have the handcuffs on him! They shot him! He was not able to run to do nothin’. Y’all didn’t give him a chance!”

Kellum was wanted for armed robbery of a pizza deliveryman, felony firearm, and as an habitual offender, The Detroit News reported. The publication also found that “Kellom absconded from probation in August for a carrying concealed weapons conviction in 2013.” Kellum has also been identified as Terrence Kellom in some reports.

In a released statement, ICE Spokesman Khaalid Walls said, “Any time an ICE officer or special agent discharges their firearm in the line of duty, the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility reviews the matter.”

Ron Scott, a spokesman for the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, said, “In light of national incidents, we find this latest shooting appalling, distressing, and despicable that another young black man has to be killed in his house in front of his family with multiple gunshots. … The coalition is working with the family, and they will release a statement soon regarding this matter. We demand, and we will obtain, justice in this case.”

Since 2004, the DFAT task force has consisted of a partnership between local and state law enforcement agencies to take the “worst of the worst” offenders “off our streets and protect southeast Michigan communities,” U.S. Marshal Robert M. Gubbs said of the DFAT program at the time. In 2006, the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) contracted with the Wayne County Sherrif’s Office to provide an additional $500,000 to help fund fugitive apprehensions. The county already receives $1 million per year for funding “overtime for city and county law enforcement officers and the apprehension of absconders,” according to a Michigan state government website. As of 2013, the task force has made 15,000 arrests of high-risk parole violators, absconders, and dangerous fugitives.

Kellum’s shooting comes on the same day that mourners held a funeral for Freddie Gray, an unarmed black man who died of spinal injuries while in the custody of police officers in Baltimore, Maryland. That city is still reeling in the aftermath of riots that broke out after Gray’s funeral. A hashtag has begun trending on Twitter for Kellum.