CHARLOTTE, N.C. (TheBlaze/AP) — The deadly encounter was set in motion when Jonathan A. Ferrell, 24, was behind the wheel during a very serious vehicle crash.
Ferrell’s vehicle slammed into trees off a northeast Charlotte road early Saturday, and the wreck was so severe he would have had to climb out of the back window to escape, police said.
Ferrell apparently walked about a half-mile to the nearest house and was “banging on the door viciously” to attract attention, police said.
Thinking it was her husband coming home late from work, the woman who lives at the house opened the door. When she saw Ferrell, whom she didn’t recognize, she shut it and called police about 2:30 a.m., police said.
Police add that they don’t believe Ferrell made threats or tried to rob the woman, but they were responding to what they believed was a breaking and entering situation. They found the former college football player a short distance away from the house after arriving on the scene.
As the officers approached him, Ferrell ran toward them. They tried to stop him with a Taser, but police said he continued to run toward them when officer Randall Kerrick fired his gun, hitting Ferrell several times. Ferrell, who was unarmed, died at the scene.
Within hours, investigators determined that the shooting had been excessive and charged the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer with voluntary manslaughter in the death of the former Florida A&M University football player.
Ferrell played for Florida A&M in 2009 and 2010, school officials said Sunday. He had recently moved to North Carolina.
Police called Ferrell and Kerrick’s initial encounter with the Taser “appropriate and lawful.” But in their statement late Saturday, they said “the investigation showed that the subsequent shooting of Mr. Ferrell was excessive” and “Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter.”
Police said Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter, which under North Carolina law involves killing without malice using “excessive force” in exercising “imperfect self-defense.”
There were three officers at the scene, CNN reports, but Kerrick was the only one to use a gun. All three officers are on paid leave.
Police were not expected to offer further details Sunday, said Officer Keith Trietley, a department spokesman. The report was not available Sunday.
Kerrick, 27, of Midland, turned himself in for booking Saturday evening and was released on $50,000 bond, according to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office website. Kerrick joined the police force in April 2011. He has a first appearance court hearing scheduled for Monday.
FAMU Interim Athletic Director Michael Smith said Ferrell played the safety position for the school’s football team during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to his family during their time of bereavement,” Smith said in an emailed statement.
A search of public records indicated that Ferrell began living in Charlotte early this year after moving from Tallahassee, Fla., home to FAMU.
Police do not know what caused the crash and didn’t say whether Ferrell suffered injuries in the accident.
According to CNN, Ferrell’s friends expressed grief on social media, calling him a “brother” and demanding “justice.”
Ferrell was engaged and would have turned 25 next month, CNN adds.
“We loved him. Our family loved him,” his fiancee’s mother told WSOC.
Here’s a report from Newsy: