On March 9, 2023, former NBA star Shawn Kemp was arrested and charged with felony drive-by shooting in connection with an incident that took place in a parking lot outside a mall in Pierce County, Washington. Shots were fired between the occupants of two cars in broad daylight, just before 2 p.m. PT. No injuries were reported, and both vehicles fled the scene.
According to a police statement, Kemp, 53, was booked into a Pierce County jail about four hours after the incident. Although the police statement did not explicitly name Kemp, online records show the booking of a 53-year-old "Shawn Travis Kemp" into a Pierce County jail, aligning with the police report. A gun was recovered from the scene, but a clear motive for Kemp's alleged involvement was not immediately available.
A video of the incident circulated on social media, depicting a tall man in a red vest jacket arguing with another person. As the other person entered their vehicle and began to pull away, the man in the red vest appeared to raise his arm just before gunshots rang through the air.
Kemp, nicknamed the "Reign Man," played 14 seasons in the NBA and was a six-time All-Star. He spent the majority of his career with the defunct Seattle SuperSonics, now the Oklahoma City Thunder, and was drafted with the No. 17 overall pick in the 1989 NBA Draft. Kemp also had stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trail Blazers, and Orlando Magic.
After his thriving basketball profession, Kemp entered the lawful marijuana sector, inaugurating his second dispensary in Seattle earlier this year.
In the event of being found guilty, Kemp could confront a sentence of up to 10 years in jail and/or a maximum fine of $20,000 as per Washington state law, which categorizes drive-by shooting as a class B felony.
The incident has shocked the basketball community and fans alike, as Kemp had not been involved in any significant legal trouble since retiring from the NBA. Many are expressing their disappointment and disbelief on social media, with some even questioning whether there could be more to the story than what has been reported so far. Regardless, Kemp will have to answer to the allegations in court in the coming weeks.