Police officer Randall Kerrick has been charged with voluntary manslaughter for shooting a man who had just survived a car crash and appeared to be searching for help.
The incident happened in the early morning hours on Saturday. Jonathan Ferrell, a 24-year-old former Florida A&M University football player, had crashed his car in a forest and had to trek a half mile to find help.
He banged on the door of a home he found, but because it was 2:30 am, the woman who lived there feared he may be a burglar and called police.
“It was quite possible he was seeking assistance based on his accident,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Chief Rodney Monroe said.
Police arrived on the scene, and when Jonathan Ferrell ran toward them, Officer Kerrick opened fire.
“He immediately charged toward the three officers, one in particular,” Monroe said. “That officer in particular fired his weapon several times, striking the individual multiple times.”
But Ferrell was unarmed, and police later said he posed no threat to Kerrick or other officers. They believe he may have been running up to the officers to alert them to his crash and try to get help.
After reviewing the details of the case, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department determined that officer Randall Kerrick acted excessively and used “improper self-defense” in the shooting. He was charged with voluntary manslaughter and later released on $50,000 bond.
“The shooting of Mr. Ferrell was excessive,” the department said in a statement. “Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter.”
The police also extended sympathies to the family of Jonathan Ferrell.
“It’s with heavy hearts and significant regrets it’s come to this,” Monroe added. “Our hearts go out to the Ferrell family and many members of the CMPD family.”
Police said they do not believe Jonathan Ferrell was drinking at the time of the crash.
Randall Kerrick isn’t the only officer in trouble for the shooting. The two others who responded to the scene have been placed on administrative leave.