(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — The former police officer charged with voluntary manslaughter in the 2013 fatal shooting of unarmed ex-football player Jonathan Ferrell testified Friday in a North Carolina courtroom that he was “in a fight for my life” that night.
“As he charged towards, he got within arm’s reach and I discharged my firearm. … I didn’t know if he had a weapon on him at that time. I didn’t know if he had a weapon anywhere at all,” Randall Kerrick said during his second day on the stand, according to the Charlotte Observer. “He could have gotten to my weapon and taken it from me.”
Ferrell, a 24-year-old former Florida A&M University athlete, was disoriented and looking for help as he knocked on doors outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, in September 2013, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. Authorities said he’d crashed his car in the early morning hours after a night out with friends.
When an alarmed resident called 911, reporting that a strange man was outside her door and that she feared he was trying to break in, police officers including Kerrick responded. Kerrick is white and Ferrell is black.
A police dash cam video on one of the police cars showed an unarmed Ferrell running toward the camera and then being shot several times. Police said another officer had deployed his police department-issued Taser at Ferrell but it was unsuccessful.
“At the time, I thought the Taser had hit the suspect and it just didn’t stop him,” Kerrick testified.
Kerrick shot at Ferrell 12 times and 10 of the shots hit him, police said. He was the only officer of the three present to fire his gun, they said. Kerrick, who joined the police force in April 2011, later turned himself in.
He was charged with voluntary manslaughter after police called the shooting “excessive” and said that Kerrick “did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon.”
Kerrick, who’s been on unpaid suspension since the shooting, faces up to 11 years in prison if convicted. The trial resumes Monday.
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