SALISBURY, N.C. -- As SBI continues their investigation into a deadly officer-involved shooting in Salisbury, local clergy members took to the streets to speak with community members, who they say have a strained relationship with the police.
Ferguson Laurent Jr., 22, was shot and killed by police yesterday morning and while police say he fired at them first, people in the community are still trying to comprehend how the incident escalated into that level of violence.
"He was like a son to me," said Latasha Wilks.
Wilks knew Laurent well and described him as respectful.
Salisbury Police say when they served a no-knock search warrant yesterday morning for drugs, weapons and stolen property at a home on East Lafayette Street, Laurent fired a shot at them once they got inside. They say Officer K. Boehm fired back, killing Laurent.
One day later, as she and other local pastors walked through the neighborhood, Wilks is wishing things had gone down differently.
"I don't think he thought he was firing at the police I think he thought he was firing at an intruder," Wilks said. "I think if the no-knock warrant would've been done differently, I do think that he may still be alive."
Wilks says in a tough area with gang activity, she wouldn't be surprised if Laurent was prepared to defend himself. Still, he has no prior arrest warrants at the Rowan County Courthouse.
Pastors Patrick Jones and Chris Shelton say they came out to East Lafayette Street yesterday afternoon, while friends and family grieved.
"I was thankful to be here to just talk with them and try to give some comfort," Jones said.
Shelton said members of the police department were in the neighborhood this morning as well talking to neighbors. He and Wilkes both say building those relationships is an important part of moving in the right direction.
"We were also invited to join the police chief last night to pray over the 2nd shift officers as they went out," Shelton said. "It was a good opportunity and reminder of the role we have to play in the community."
"Right now people are just upset about what happened," Wilks said.
Another group will meet at the local Salvation Army and march to the shooting scene to pray Friday night.