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The White North Carolina police officer charged with killing an unarmed Black man who crashed his car and was seeking help in Sept. 2013, testified Thursday that he believed Jonathan Ferrell was trying to get his gun.

Police officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick, who was charged with voluntary manslaughter for the shooting, often broke down in tears on the stand as he detailed his brief encounter with the former Florida A&M University player. At one point, Kerrick said he thought he would die “because I could do nothing that would stop him.” Disturbing video shows Ferrell running towards cops in what prosecutors say was an attempt to get help after his accident. The narrative of a Black male “charging” towards police, prompting them to open fire, is a familiar one — just last year, former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson testified in front of a grand jury that Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager he shot and killed, ran towards him “like a demon.”

In fact, another officer on the scene with Kerrick, identified as Thornell Little, said the young man charged at police “full speed, like a bull rush, like a bum-rush type of run.”

From NBC:

Kerrick testified that he left the home to back up Officer Thornell Little, who went to check on “grunting and screaming” noises that they had heard coming from the road.

Little had his Taser drawn, but the suspect continued to advance, Kerrick said, according to NBC station WCNC of Charlotte. Kerrick said he pulled his gun to back up Little because the Taser didn’t stop Ferrell. Kerrick testified that he feared Ferrell might harm him and Little. As Ferrell began approaching, Kerrick backed up and yelled commands for him to stop and to get on the ground.

But “he wouldn’t stop,” Kerrick said. “He kept trying to get my gun.”

Kerrick, the only officer to open fire, shot at Ferrell 12 times. Ten of the bullets hit the former football player.

If convicted, Kerrick faces up to 11 years in prison.


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“He Kept Trying To Get My Gun:” Police Officer Who Killed Jonathan Ferrell Said He Feared For His Life  was originally published on