CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The fiancee of the man who was shot and killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer last month says she believes the officer was scared and unprepared during the encounter.
Caché Heidel told NBC News in an interview that aired Wednesday morning that she has forgiven Officer Randall Kerrick, “but it hurts.”
Heidel’s fiance, 24-year-old Jonathon Ferrell, died in the early morning hours of Sept. 14 in the shooting. Kerrick, 27, was charged with voluntary manslaughter hours after the shooting. The N.C. General Attorney’s office is prosecuting the case.
Heidel had been Ferrell’s girlfriend since middle school, and her fiance followed her to Charlotte when she got an accounting job. Ferrell planned to attend Johnson C. Smith University and was working two jobs to pay for tuition. He had played safety for Florida A&M University’s football team.
Police and an attorney for Ferrell’s family say Ferrell had dropped off a co-worker just before wrecking his car in the Reedy Creek area of northeast Mecklenburg. His cell phone was apparently knocked to the floor and he was unable to reach it, his attorney said. He knocked on a resident’s door, looking for help. A woman who lived in the house called police, thinking someone was trying to break in.
Three CMPD officers responded, and police say Kerrick fired 12 shots at Ferrell when he walked toward police. Ferrell was unarmed, police say.
In the NBC interview, Heidel said she believes Kerrick was frightened and had an “unconscious bias.”
“The officer was scared,” Heidel told NBC. “He was scared and totally unprepared. It hurt me when I found out he had pretty much emptied his clip.
“I feel like he intended to kill him because he was so scared.”
Kerrick’s attorneys have said they expect the evidence to show the shooting was justified.
The NAACP and other Civil Rights groups have said the fatal shooting indicates a problem with CMPD’s training.
Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, has said CMPD officers need better training about how to deal with people from diverse backgrounds, especially when it comes to using deadly force.