Shawn Kemp, the six-time NBA All-Star and former Seattle Supersonics legend, has been charged with assault in the first degree in relation to an alleged shooting in March, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Kemp, 53, will plead not guilty, his attorney Scott Boatman said in a statement on Friday:
"Today, Shawn Kemp learned that the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office elected to file charges against him. He will be entering a plea of not guilty at his upcoming arraignment. He has been fully cooperative with the police and the prosecutor's office throughout this process. 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. He has retained the law offices of Aaron Kiviat and Tim Leary to defend in these charges."
On the date of the alleged incident, the Tacoma Police Department tweeted the following report:
"At 1:58 pm, an altercation between the occupants of two cars led to shots being fired at a parking lot in the 4500 block of S. Steele St. One car fled. No injuries were reported. A gun was recovered. A 53-year-old male was booked for Drive-By Shooting. The investigation is ongoing."
That tweet did not name Kemp, specifically. However, Kemp was listed on the Pierce County Corrections Booking website with the drive-by shooting listed as the charge. The shooting occurred near the Tacoma Mall.
Boatman made the following statement about his client shortly after the incident was reported:
"Late Tuesday evening Shawn Kemp's vehicle was broken into and numerous items were stolen, including an iPhone. ...Mr. Kemp tracked his iPhone to an occupied vehicle in a shopping mall parking lot in Tacoma. When Mr. Kemp approached the vehicle in an attempt to retrieve his stolen property, individuals inside the vehicle shot at Mr. Kemp, who then returned fire in self-defense. There was not a drive by shooting as previously reported and Mr. Kemp's actions were reasonable and legally justified. Mr. Kemp met with law enforcement at the scene in an attempt to assist in the matter. Mr. Kemp has retained criminal attorneys Aaron Kiviat and Tim Leary to represent him and ensure that he is exonerated of all charges."
Since retiring, Kemp has been active in the movement to bring the NBA back to Seattle after the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City. He has operated a number of businesses in the Seattle area over the years. He also played for the Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers and Cleveland Cavaliers in a decorated 14-year NBA career.
Kemp has dealt with other legal problems in the past. In 2006, he was arrested for drug possession in Washington after he and another man were found with cocaine, marijuana, and a semiautomatic pistol. Kemp was detained again in 2006, this time in Houston, for misdemeanor marijuana possession.