An unarmed man who may have been looking for help after a car accident was shot and killed by police Saturday as he ran toward a police offer, reports said. The officer was charged with voluntary manslaughter after the shooting. Police issued a statement saying officers responded to a breaking and entering call on the city's east side around 2:30 a.m. Someone had allegedly knocked on the door of a residence. The homeowner opened the door, apparently thinking it was her husband. When she discovered it wasn't her spouse, she closed the door and called 911.
When officers arrived on the scene, they found Jonathan Ferrell, 24, a short distance away from the home. Ferrell matched the description given by the homeowner, police said. The statement said officers then approached Ferrell to investigate the original call of breaking and entering. Ferrell ran toward the officers and the officer hit him with a Taser. Ferrell allegedly continued to run toward police when Officer Randall Kerrick fired his weapon repeatedly, hitting Ferrell several times. Ferrell was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators later reported they think a wrecked car discovered in the nearby woods down an embankment may have been driven by Ferrell. Those investigators believe Ferrell may have been trying to get help from the resident who called 911. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe said the car accident was a serious one and that Ferrell would have been forced to climb out of the back window of the vehicle to escape the crash. He apparently walked to the nearest house and banged on the door. Monroe told media that he didn't think Ferrell was trying to rob anyone.
"I don't believe threats were made," Monroe said. Monroe also stated that he had spoken with officer Kerrick. "He is pretty shook up," the chief said. "He's devastated." Monroe did not comment on how family and friends of the murdered Ferrell may feel.
Kerrick has been with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police since April 2011 and is now in custody. He was charged with voluntary manslaughter after an investigation found that his shooting of Ferrell was excessive. Two other officers that were at the scene have since been placed on administrative leave with pay based on the outcome of an internal investigation of the shooting.
UPDATE: Police have now confirmed the victim, Jonathan Ferrell, had indeed been in a car accident. Ferrell had played college football at Florida A&M University. The 24-year-old man had just gotten engaged and had no record of violent or aggressive behavior. One of his teammates, Gregory Boler, said his former teammate was a quiet, humble player. “He wasn’t really the aggressive type,” Boler said of Ferrell. “He was a good guy, easy to talk to...He just liked to be around his friends.”
Ferrell did, however, have one mark on his criminal record. It seems he was drinking alcohol while fishing in 2011. Ferrell's family has asked to be left alone during this shocking time. Florida A&M University made a statement about Ferrell's death. “Florida A&M University is deeply saddened to hear about the loss of one of our former student athletes, Jonathan Ferrell,” the school said. “Our hearts and prayers go out to his family during their time of bereavement.”
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