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Officer charged in killing of unarmed ex-athlete

Published September 15, 2013 6:09 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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.

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 for Florida A&M in 2009 and 2010, school officials said Sunday. He had recently moved to North Carolina.

Early Saturday, he had apparently been in a crash and was seeking help at a nearby house, according to a statement from Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.

Officers responding to the 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, hitting Ferrell several times. Ferrell died at the scene.

Police called Ferrell and Kerrick's 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.