Jonathan Ferrell Fatally Shot 10 Times By Police Officer While Unarmed, May Have Been Seeking Help After Car Crash
One man is dead and another is facing manslaughter charges after investigators say an unarmed man seeking help after a car crash was shot 10 times by a Charlotte police officer who is now being charged in his death.
Police say 24-year-old former Florida A&M football player Jonathan Ferrell was involved in a terrible car accident on Saturday (9/14). His vehicle crashed into trees off of a northeast Charlotte road, and the damage was so severe that authorities believe he had to climb out of the back window to escape.
A shaken Ferrell then walked nearly a half-mile to the nearest house to seek help. Police say Ferrell then began "banging on the door viciously" to attract attention. The woman who lived at the home answered the door thinking it was her husband coming home late from work, and when she saw Ferrell, shut the door and called the police around 2:30 a.m.
When they arrived on the scene, Ferrell then ran toward the officers, who tried to stop him with a Taser. Police say Ferrell continued to run toward them when Officer Randall Kerrick fired 12 times at the unarmed man, hitting him 10 times. Ferrell died at the scene.
Upon the release of the information Monday that led to the Kerrick being charged with voluntary manslaughter, Ferrell family attorney Chris Chestnut revealed that police officials said Kerrick never identified himself as a police officer when he responded to the breaking and entering call and also questioned whether race played a role in the shooting of a black man by a white officer.
Ferrell's mother Georgia Ferrell also spoke about her son who had moved to Charlotte from Florida A&M University about a year ago to be with his fiancee and was working two jobs. She clutched onto a stuffed Winnie the Pooh doll that her son loved as a child as she talked about his dreams to go back to school to become an automotive engineer.
Ferrell's family painted a picture of a role model with an "infectious smile" who was always there for his brothers and sisters. His mother, visibly distraught, believes the officer who killed her son had no business being a police officer saying "he took a piece of my heart that I can never put back."
I truly forgive him. I pray for him. And I pray that he gets off the police force,
Chesnut applauded police for charging Kerrick quickly, but added that "shooting first and asking questions later" is not appropriate action for police officers, yet it happens far too often. Police determined the shooting was indeed excessive and that "Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter."
Ferrell was at least the sixth person to be shot by Charlotte-Mecklenburg officers since the beginning of 2012. Four of them have died.
UPDATE: WCNC has released audio of the 911 call.