Former Seattle Sonics star Sean Kemp was arrested Wednesday in Tacoma after a reported drive-by shooting near a Tacoma mall


Sean Kemp, center left, a former NBA player for the Seattle SuperSonics and several other teams, hugs former teammate and Basketball Hall of Famer Gary Payton, center right, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, after Kemp cut Sean Kemp’s Cannabis Tape, a marijuana dispensary he owns with several business partners in downtown Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


Former Seattle Sonic star Shawn Kemp was arrested Wednesday in Tacoma, following reports of a drive-by shooting.

A statement from Tacoma police said the initial incident was reported at 1:58 p.m., though it did not mention Kemp by name. Officers responded to reports of shots fired in the Tacoma Mall parking lot at the 4500 block of S. Steele St. No injuries were reported.



According to police, shots were fired after an altercation between two people in separate vehicles. One of the drivers “fired off several rounds at the occupants of the other vehicle. The victim vehicle fled the area,” police said.


Officers later found the suspected shooter, who was arrested “without incident,” police said. They also recovered a gun.


Police did not name the suspect but described him as “a 53-year-old male.” The Pierce County Jail roster shows Kemp, 53, was booked at 5:58 p.m.


Kemp played for the Sonics from 1989 to 1997, teaming up with fellow star Gary Payton for several successful seasons, including an NBA Finals appearance against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, who defeated the Sonics in six games. Following his retirement from basketball, Kemp and his business partners opened a cannabis dispensary in Seattle in 2020.

This story was originally published March 8, 2023 6:46 p.m.

Sean Robinson, night/sports editor, spent 20 years as an investigative reporter at The News Tribune before moving into the role of editor. His reporting work includes awards related to criminal justice, government accountability, and public disclosure.

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