A North Carolina grand jury on Monday has rectified what many considered an injustice by indicting an officer who shot and killed an unarmed former Florida A&M football player, the New York Daily News reports.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Randall Kerrick, 27, now faces a voluntary-manslaughter charge for the September 2013 shooting in which Kerrick is alleged to have fired 12 shots, 10 of which hit and killed Jonathan Ferrell, 24.
"With the strength of the evidence in this case, we're not surprised," Charles Monnett, an attorney for Ferrell’s family, told CNN. "We're all pleased and happy that the process is beginning now and that there's an end in sight. It is the first step towards justice."
The night of Sept. 14, 2013, Ferrell crashed his car and went to a nearby home in search of help around 2:30 a.m. A woman who was home with her 1-year-old, initially thought that Ferrell was her husband and opened the door. When she realized that the man approaching wasn't her husband, she shut the door and called 911.
When three officers responded they found Ferrell wandering further down the street. While it is unclear what sparked the fatal confrontation, one officer fired his Taser and missed, the Daily News reports.
Kerrick claims that the unarmed Ferrell lunged at him and then Kerrick proceeded to unload his weapon, striking the former safety 10 times in the chest and arms.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department declared the shooting excessive and arrested Kerrick within 24 hours of the incident, the Daily News reports.
Kerrick, who was released from jail on a $50,000 bond and joined the police force in 2011, has been on unpaid leave since the incident.
"The evidence revealed that Mr. Ferrell did advance on Officer Kerrick and the investigation showed that the subsequent shooting of Mr. Ferrell was excessive," the department said in a statement the day of the shooting. "Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter."
Earlier this month, Ferrell’s family filed a civil lawsuit against the officer, the city, the department’s police chief and Mecklenburg County, the Daily News reports.
"Today’s not a happy occasion," Monnett told WBTV after the indictment was handed down Monday afternoon. "It’s not a happy occasion for anyone, certainly not for us or Officer Kerrick’s family, but we do have a tremendous sense of relief and gratitude that hopefully justice will be done."