TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida A&M University football team will gather for a prayer vigil for a former player who was shot and killed by a Charlotte police officer. The team and family members of 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell will attend the vigil Thursday evening at Lee Hall Auditorium. It will be open to the community.
Police say Ferrell was shot 10 times early Saturday by officer Randall Kerrick, who was responding to a breaking and entering call. Officers say Ferrell had been in a car crash and sought help at a nearby house. A woman called authorities when she didn't recognize the man.
Kerrick has been charged with voluntary manslaughter. Ferrell played the safety position in 2009-10.
A police dash cam video shows Ferrel, who was unarmed, was shot 10 times by an officer a "millisecond" after being ordered to "get on the ground," a lawyer for the slain man's family said today after reviewing the video.
Police say Jonathan Ferrell, a former football player for Florida A&M, died after being shot in a barrage fired by Officer Randall Kerrick who later turned himself in and was charged with voluntary manslaughter. Ferrell, 24, was unarmed. An unreleased dash cam video on one of the patrol cars captured the exchange, according to Ferrell family attorney Christopher Chestnut.
Chestnut, who said he has seen the tape, said it left him with feelings of "shock, dismay and sadness."
The lawyer said that the first few seconds of the video show Ferrell walking down a sidewalk a few blocks from the house where he sought help after a car crash. Chestnut said a laser light can immediately be seen "square center" on Ferrell's chest.
"[There was] no, 'Stop. Who are you? What are you doing? Can I help you?'" Chestnut told ABCNews.com.
He said Ferrell walked toward the officers and threw up his arms.
"Then it goes off the dashcam, but you hear 12 gunshots," he said. "One, two, three, four. Pause. One, two, three, four, five, six. Pause. One, two."
"At or a millisecond prior to hearing gunshots, you hear the officer telling him to, 'Get on the ground, get on the ground,'" Chestnut said. "But that was the only verbal command you ever heard. At that point, there was nothing he could do. He didn't have time to explain anything."
Chestnut said it was "very apparent" that Ferrell was unarmed.
"He had close-fitting clothes — t-shirt and slacks — on so it was very evident that he never brandished a weapon nor could he have concealed one," the lawyer said.
Chestnut said the family will likely be filing a claim, but that the case is still in the investigative stage. He also represents the family of Robert Champion, the former FAMU drum major who was hazed to death in 2011.
Kerrick's defense attorney Michael Greene did not respond to request for comment today.
"We're going to allow this case to be tried in a court of law," defense attorney Mike Greene said on Tuesday, according to ABC affiliate WSOC-TV in Charlotte. "However, we're confident at the resolution of this case and that it will be found that Officer Kerrick's actions were justified on the night in question."
The Charlotte-Macklenburg police department said that there is no plan to release the dash cam video since it is part of an ongoing investigation. Police say that Ferrell sought help at a woman's home after a car crash early Saturday morning in Charlotte, N.C., and the woman called 911 reporting a strange man outside her door.
"There's a guy breaking in my front door — trying to kick it down," the woman told the operator in a 911 call released on Tuesday. "Oh God. Oh my God."
When police arrived at the woman's home, Ferrell began running toward one officer, according to the police account of the incident.
"Oh my God. Where is he going? Why is he running? Why is he leaving?" the woman can be heard saying on the 911 call. "Oh my God."
According to police, when Ferrell began running at the officer, one cop tried unsuccessfully to Taser him. When that failed, another officer fired his gun, shooting at Ferrell who died at the scene.
Police determined the shooting was "excessive" and that Kerrick "did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon."
Earlier this week, Ferrell's mother said that she forgives the officer and wishes him the best.
"You caused a great loss to my heart," Georgia Ferrell said at a news conference today as she clutched a Winnie the Pooh bear beloved by her son. "You took a piece of my heart that never can be put back, but I do forgive you. I truly forgive you and wish you the best with your life and turning it over to God."