(Reuters) - An unarmed man who was shot dead after running toward police officers in Charlotte, North Caroline, may have been just trying to get help after crashing his car, police said.
A woman called 911 after Jonathan Ferrell, 24, began knocking insistently on her front door in a leafy residential neighborhood in Charlotte at about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said.
The woman, who immediately closed the door on Ferrell after seeing it was not her husband, may not have been aware that he had just crawled out of his wrecked car in nearby woods, police said.
Three police officers arrived, finding Ferrell a short distance from the woman’s house. As soon as the officers got out of their vehicles, Ferrell started running toward them, police said.
One officer unsuccessfully fired a Taser at Ferrell, but he kept running. Randall Kerrick, another officer, then shot Ferrell several times with his service weapon, killing him, police said.
Police found Ferrell’s wrecked car later in the morning.
The police department has placed all three officers on administrative leave while they investigate the shooting. Detectives charged Kerrick with voluntary manslaughter on Saturday.
“Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter,” the police department said in a statement.
Reporting By Jonathan Allen; Editing by Maureen Bavdek