Suspect in murder of renowned hair stylist should never have been working as security guard

Posted at 7:14 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 21:10:16-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A simple search of offenders on the website for the Michigan Department of Corrections would have yielded all the information GardaWorld Security Services needed to know about Jimmy Pickett.

The 24-year-old Detroit man had pleaded guilty to a 2016 crime of resisting, obstructing and injuring a police officer and a 2017 case of unarmed robbery, a crime that prosecutors have said also involved a beating. And Pickett, who has probation violations on his record, was still on probation for the robbery.

However, GardaWorld hired him and he was assigned to the front gate at Brewery Park, an office park on Gratiot Avenue that houses offices for news organizations, federal agents, lawyers, Navy recruiting, and other companies.

Pickett was at the front gate Wednesday morning when he was arrested as the suspect in the murder of renowned hair stylist Bashar Kallabat. One can only wonder if Kallabat felt more comfortable with Pickett because of his position of trust.

Pickett is now charged with felony murder in Kallabat's beating death.

According to Detroit police, Kallabat rented a room at the JZ Motel on East Eight Mile Road on Feb. 11 and that is where his body was found several hours later by motel staff.

Kallabat died of blunt force trauma to the head. And Detroit Police Chief James Craig said it appears Kallabat may have met his alleged killer, Jimmy Pickett, through a dating app.

Police said Pickett is seen on surveillance video, wearing his security guard jacket, going into the room Kallabat rented and leaving about three hours later.

It's unclear how Pickett was able to secure a job with GardaWorld given state requirements for security guard companies and their employees that include no felony convictions.

"People look to a security guard if they have a problem, if they have a crisis, if they have a threat, they go to that guard. And this guy was not qualified or eligible to be in that position," said Ned Timmons of LSS Consulting - a security firm owned and operated by former FBI agents. "He should not have been eligible to be hired as a guard."

Seven Action News has learned that GardaWorld has told Brewery Park management and concerned tenants that they are sorry for not catching Pickett's criminal convictions.

GardaWorld released the following statement to 7 Action News:

We have required protocols and standards as part of our security guards hiring process including background checks. For this situation, we have opened an internal investigation at the local branch to understand what occurred and to bring corrective actions necessary to prevent this isolated event from reoccurring. We will continue to cooperate with the local authorities in their ongoing investigation and as a result we will not be providing further comment on this case.

The State of Michigan's Corporations, Securities, & Commercial Licensing Bureau has now launched their own investigation against GardaWorld's license to determine if they violated the Private Security Business and Security Alarm Act.

According to state records, GardaWorld Security Services is owned by Whelan Security Company, and their most recent employee roster on file lists a "Jimmy Pickett" as an employee.

Pickett is set to appear back in court later this month on the murder case.