Kelly Key was born December 26, 1940 in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was appointed to the Department in October 1962, and retired on a disability pension June 1, 1971, due to a gunshot wound that paralyzed him. He was last assigned to Narcotics Division.
He died December 27, 1989, in Gardena as a result of medical complications from the gunshot wound he received in 1970, while executing a search warrant.
Key is survived by his son, Brian; mother, Gloria McKnight/ father, Kelly Key, Jr.; sister, Sandra Key; brother, Hikima Key; stepfather, Henry McKnight; stepmother, Zelma Key; and several other relatives.
Kelly Key was not only a tough man, but a gentle one. He was tough in enduring the anguish of 19 years of repeated setbacks and numerous operations related to his injury, but he never faltered in his devotion and dedication to his family, friends and faith. He also put forth great effort and desire in helping others who themselves suffered hardships due to alcohol and drug abuse. He counseled young and old alike. He was gentle in his relationships with people and generous with his love for others. He was never bitter about his life and remained involved with his many friends, on and off the job.
Kelly stayed active in Department and community functions and enjoyed being around all of us.
In the “Toughest Cop Alive” competition, Kelly would have qualified. In baseball Lou Gehrig was known as the “Iron Horse” for playing so many continuous years with severe injuries. In boxing, Heavyweight Champ Mike Tyson is know as “Iron Mike” because of his devastating punches and iron will to win. In law enforcement, Kelly Key will always be known as the “Iron Man” of cops.
– By George V. Aliano