Jonathan Ferrell, 24, was a former Florida A&M University football player. He had moved to Charlotte, N.C., a few months ago and was recently engaged. Ferrell was in a car accident Saturday morning, but was able to leave the scene of the crash to seek help. The car had crashed into trees and the wreck was so bad, authorities said, he would have had to climb out the back window to escape.
He knocked on the door of a woman who lived nearby. Startled by the stranger, the woman called police, who responded as they would to a break-in and entry call. When Ferrell ran toward the police, officer Randall Kerrick shot him several times, killing him. Investigators quickly decided Kerrick used excessive force, and the officer has been charged with voluntary manslaughter.
Randall Kerrick (AP Photo/Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office)
The charge involves killing without malice, using “excessive force” in “imperfect self-defense.” Kerrick, 27, joined the force in 2011. He has been released on a $50,000 bond.
Ferrell was working two jobs, one at Dillard’s department store and the other at Best Buy, according to the Charlotte Observer.
His brother, Willie Ferrell, who is about a year younger, tweeted: “Don’t know how much I miss u I never cried so much,never imagine living life with you.” Their father died when they were toddlers, reported the Observer. Willie said he knows his brother is now with their father. Willie asked for privacy for the Ferrell family as they mourn. His last tweet as of early Monday morning was, “Our life is now all about #JusticeForJon.”
Some of Jonathan Ferrell’s last tweets include expressing love for his little brother and fiancé and groaning about being at work. He also tweeted about racial inequity in the George Zimmerman trial. Zimmerman had shot Trayvon Martin, an African American youth who was walking through his neighborhood. While Zimmerman claimed it was self-defense, the prosecution argued that Martin did not pose a sufficient threat for that claim.
Ferrell tweeted July 11: “Lady on CNN just called a 5 out 6 white women jury so diverse.”
His fiancé’s brother, James Heidel, tweeted: “Pray for my sister. My family needs it and so does Jon’s.” He said Ferrell was the perfect man for his sister.
Gregory Boler played at A&M University with Ferrell as a linebacker. He told the Observer Ferrell was quiet and humble.
“He wasn’t really the aggressive type,” Boler said. “He was a good guy, easy to talk to. … He just liked to be around his friends.”
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.