Former Florida A&M Player Jonathan A. Ferrell Shot and Killed by Police Officer

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2013

Photo courtesy of Florida A&M athletics
Photo courtesy of Florida A&M athletics

Following an automobile crash and subsequent attempt to call for help, former Florida A&M University football player Jonathan A. Ferrell was shot and killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., police officer on Saturday morning, according to theΒ Associated Press via USA Today.

Ferrell, who played safety for the Rattlers in 2009 and 2010, reportedly escaped his vehicle after a severe wreck and knocked on a woman's door to presumably call the authorities. Fearing for her own safety, the woman called 911, and Ferrell was confronted upon the arrival of police at the scene.

After allegedly charging toward police, a Taser was used to subdue Ferrell. After a second attempt on Ferrell's part, however, he was shot "several times" and killed by officer Randall Kerrick.

According to the AP, Kerrick has been charged with voluntary manslaughter as he is believed to have killed Ferrell while using "excessive force."

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" and "Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter."

Kerrick turned himself in, and has since been released on $50,000 bond, according to the AP.

The 24-year-old Ferrell, who was reportedly unarmed at the time of the incident, crashed his vehicle into some trees along a road in northeast Charlotte. After the unidentified woman called 911, details are sketchy with regards to why Ferrell might have charged toward police and why Kerrick felt the need to discharge his weapon.Β Β Β 

After learning of Ferrell's death, interim Florida A&M athletic director Michael Smith released a statement in support of Ferrell's family, per the AP.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to his family during their time of bereavement," Smith said in an emailed statement.

The Rattlers finished 8-3 in each of Ferrell's two seasons with the team, and the Florida A&M football program figures to remember his contributions fondly following this tragic incident.

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