Jonathan Ferrell was shot 10 times by a police officer as he sought help after a serious car crash, authorities in North Carolina revealed on Monday.
The 24-year-old former college football player had just crashed his car into a forest and crawled out of the wreckage to seek help when he approached a house. The woman who lived there thought it was her husband, but upon seeing Ferrell she became frightened and called police.
The Charlotte police officers who responded said Jonathan Ferrell charged at them, and officer Randall Kerrick fired 10 shots, killing Ferrell. Police later said they think Ferrell was only seeking help after his crash.
Police in Charlotte took the unusual step of charging Kerrick with voluntary manslaughter, saying he used improper force during the incident.
“The shooting of Mr. Ferrell was excessive,” the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police 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 department also extended sympathies to the family of Jonathan Ferrell.
“It’s with heavy hearts and significant regrets it’s come to this,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Chief Rodney Monroe said. “Our hearts go out to the Ferrell family and many members of the CMPD family.”
Kerrick was charged in the incident and released on $50,000 bond.
As the new details of the shooting emerged Monday, so too did a picture of Jonathan Ferrell as an ambitious man, working two jobs and planning to return to study automotive engineering. He was also planning to marry his girlfriend.
“You took a piece of my heart that I can never put back,” said Ferrell’s mother, Georgia Ferrell.
The Jonathan Ferrell case has become nationwide news, with NAACP leaders gathering Monday to praise police for actually filing charges against Randall Kerrick.