911 Call Released in Fatal NC Cop Shooting of Unarmed Black Man

Jonathan Ferrell (Florida A&M University); Randall Kerrick (Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office)
Jonathan Ferrell (Florida A&M University); Randall Kerrick (Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office)

A search for help after a car wreck early Saturday morning in North Carolina turned into a fatal journey for Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M University football player.


At about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, he banged on the front door of Sarah McCartney, who was alone with her 1-year-old son, MSNBC reports. She rushed to the door thinking something had happened to her husband, who works nights. But it was Ferrell, a young African-American man.

She promptly closed the door and called the police to report an attempted robbery. On Tuesday an NBC affiliate in Charlotte, N.C., released a recording of her 911 call.

"I need help. There's a guy breaking into my front door, he's trying to kick it down," McCartney is heard pleading through tears on a recording of the 911 call released by WCNC.com, an NBC affiliate in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday. She told the dispatcher that her husband works nights and that he has guns at home but that she couldn't find any.

"Oh my God," McCartney says over and over. "He's in the front yard yelling."

"I need help," she said, crying.

When McCartney saw the police outside of her home, she's heard on the 911 tape saying, "Oh, please let them get him."

They did.

Jonathan Ferrell, 24, was killed by police in a bizarre series of events that began with a car crash along a rural stretch of road near McCartney's home, and ended not long after he dragged himself from the wreckage and found himself on her doorstep seeking help.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say that three officers responding to McCartney's 911 call arrived at her home and found Ferrell nearby. When Ferrell saw the officers he advanced or ran toward them, police say, and one of the officers shot him with a Taser. When that didn't stop him, Officer Randall Kerrick pulled out his gun and fired 12 shots at Ferrell, hitting him with 10.

Ferrell was unarmed. Kerrick, who was arraigned on Tuesday, was charged with voluntary manslaughter. His lawyer, Michael Greene, told the Associated Press that his client was innocent, saying, "His actions were justified on the night in question." 

Read more at MSNBC.