CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The deadly encounter was set in motion when a former college football player survived a wreck and went searching for help in the middle of the night.
A frightened woman heard him pounding and opened her front door, then called police. Officers found the unarmed man, and one shot him when a Taser failed to stop him from approaching.
Within hours, investigators determined that the shooting had been excessive and charged the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer with voluntary manslaughter in the death of former Florida A&M University football player Jonathan A. Ferrell.
Ferrell, 24, played safety for Florida A&M in 2009 and 2010, school officials said Sunday.
Early Saturday, he had apparently been in a wreck and was seeking help at a nearby house, according to a statement from Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. A woman answered the door and, when she didnt recognize the man, called 911.
Officers responding to the breaking and entering call found Ferrell a short distance from the home, police said. As they approached him, Ferrell ran toward the officers, who tried to stop him with a Taser. Police said he continued to run toward them when officer Randall Kerrick fired his gun. Ferrell died at the scene.
Police called Ferrell and Kerricks initial encounter 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.
Kerrick, 27, of Midland, turned himself in for booking Saturday evening and was released on $50,000 bond, according to the Mecklenburg County Sheriffs Office website. He has a first appearance court hearing scheduled for today.