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Torrance Police Probing Shooting of Assailant

October 04, 1990|JANET RAE-DUPREE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Torrance police continue to investigate the case of a woman who shot and killed an assailant as he dragged her by the neck toward his car early this week.

Kevin T. Kemp, 33, of Hawthorne, died at County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center about 17 hours after he allegedly approached the woman in her driveway about 3:45 a.m. Sunday, put a strap around her neck and dragged her toward the street. Police said Kemp's wife told them he had left their home about midnight to buy diapers for the couple's 2-week-old infant.

Before he died, Kemp had been placed under arrest on suspicion of attempted rape, attempted robbery and attempted kidnaping.

Investigators have tentatively concluded that the woman shot Kemp in self-defense. Once they have finished their investigation, they plan to ask the district attorney to review their findings.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Sandra Buttitta said it is not unusual for police to request a review by her office when there is a homicide.

"You've got a dead person, so it's a prudent thing for (the police) to have us review it to verify their thinking," Buttitta said. "Most things of this nature would be brought to us for review."

Police said the woman, a 28-year-old Torrance resident, told police Kemp approached her just as she arrived at her home in the 3200 block of Sonoma Avenue and stepped from her car, which was parked in her driveway.

Although the woman said she had noticed a car pull up and stop a short distance down the street from her as she pulled into the driveway, she did not see anyone getting out and thought the car belonged to a neighbor, Sgt. Ron Traber said.

It was not until after she had begun walking behind her own car that she saw the stranger coming toward her. He asked her what time it was, Traber said.

Startled, the woman put one hand inside her purse, where she had a gun, and raised her other hand to look at her watch.

"The guy charges up and throws a noose around her neck, a canvas type of strap," Traber said. "He pulls her down to the ground and is dragging her down the driveway. She's kicking and screaming . . . and she is finally able to pull the gun from her purse and she either reaches up over her shoulder or behind her back and fires two rounds, one of which hits the suspect."

Kemp released the woman and stumbled back down the street as the woman ran inside her house to call police, Traber said.

Officers found Kemp lying a few doors away, moaning, with a canvas strap next to him. His new Nissan sports car was found nearby with its door open and an infant's car seat inside.

Traber said investigators talked to Kemp's wife, Beverly, on Monday. She told them Kemp had left their Hawthorne apartment shortly after midnight Sunday to buy diapers.

Investigators said the woman apparently did not have a permit to carry the gun in her purse, but still may not have violated any laws.

"It's not against the law to carry a gun on your person on your own property, and this did take place in the driveway of her home," Traber said.

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