The mother of a 24-year-old man who was shot and killed by a police officer early Saturday said Monday that her son, Jonathan Ferrell, was “a good man” who came to Charlotte to further his education and marry his fiancée.
“I expected my son to bury me, not for me to bury him,” Georgia Ferrell said during an 11 a.m. news conference uptown.
Later, she said she forgave Officer Randall Kerrick, who is charged with voluntary manslaughter.
“I forgive him. I just hope he gets off the force,” she said. “He took a piece out of my heart that can never be put back. A piece of me is gone,”
Ferrell had been in a car wreck and knocked on a woman’s door seeking help. She called 911, who dispatched three officers who encountered Ferrell around 2:30 a.m. During the encounter, Kerrick was the only one who fired a gun. Police said on Monday that Kerrick fired 12 shots, and 10 bullets struck Ferrell.
Christopher Chestnut, the Florida-based attorney representing the Ferrells, said the family has questions about what he described as a “shoot-first, ask-questions-later” policy by Kerrick.
Chestnut said Ferrell wasn’t attacking police officers when he saw their flashing blue lights. “He was running to them for help. He was not threatening anyone.”
Ferrell had no criminal record in North Carolina. A 2011 misdemeanor charge in Florida was dismissed.
It’s rare for Charlotte-Mecklenburg police to charge one of their own following a fatal shooting. A source close to the investigation told the Observer that at least one video describes some of the interaction between Kerrick and the three officers dispatched to a robbery call on Reedy Creek Road early Saturday.
Civil Rights advocates also held a press conference in front of the government center on Monday, calling for police to re-examine their policies regarding use of force.
They also used the killing to bolster an eight-month fight to get the city to give more power to a citizens review board the reviews police disciplinary practices, including the use of excessive force.
A crash, a knock, gunshots
Early Saturday morning, Jonathan Ferrell was lost. His family’s attorney wouldn’t say why Ferrell was driving in the expansive Bradfield Farms neighborhood, near the Cabarrus-Mecklenburg border.
Ferrell turned his black Toyota Camry down a road that leads to the subdivision’s tennis courts, pool and clubhouse.
But the car crashed into an embankment about 2 a.m., police said. Investigators said they found no indication of alcohol use, but are waiting for toxicology tests.
The wreck was so bad that Ferrell had to kick out the back window to climb out of his mangled car. It was unclear whether he was injured, or how badly, but he walked about a quarter mile to a house just visible over the crest of a hill.
The road that leads to the pool is lit, but there are no streetlights near the house, on Reedy Creek Road. The house is next to a grove of trees and a greenway that joggers and dog walkers use. It’s also right next to McKee Creek.
Monroe say Ferrell started “banging on the door viciously.”
The woman who lives there at first thought the man knocking on the door was her husband, coming home late from work. But police said when she saw Ferrell, she thought he was a robber. She dialed 911, asking for officers to come.