TALLAHASSE, FL - With songs, tears and memories, a family said goodbye to a man police say was shot and killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer.
Jonathan Ferrell, 24, was laid to rest on Saturday in Tallahassee, Florida. His funeral comes two weeks to the day after he was killed in East Mecklenburg County.
Charlotte police said around 2:30 a.m. on September 14, Ferrell knocked on a woman's door on Reedy Creek Road, possibly looking for help after a car accident.
Officials said the woman thought it was her husband at the door, so she answered it, and got scared when she saw Ferrell, closing the door on him. The resident then dialed 911.
Officials said that three officers arrived on scene moments later.
When police got there, they said Ferrell, who wasn't armed, ran toward them.
Police said that one officer tried to hit Ferrell with a stun gun, but the stun gun didn't phase Ferrell, who kept running toward Officer Randall Kerrick.
Kerrick shot and killed Ferrell at the scene.
Police later charged Officer Randall Kerrick with manslaughter.
Eyewitness News reached out to Kerrick's attorney, but he said he would not be commenting at this time. In the past he has told Channel 9 he thinks that, in the end, his client will be cleared.
Eyewitness News was at Ferrell's service in Tallahassee on Saturday morning.
It was a celebration of the man Ferrell was to many in Tallahassee. Saturday morning was also a day of mourning for those he loved, as friends and family tried to focus on his memory and not the questions that they are still left with.
It started with a huge procession of Ferrell's family and close friends walking up by his casket to say goodbye.
Ferrell's mother was held tight by her other children as she clung to a bear she said once belonged to her son.
"It is a hard day for all of us because he is not on this side," said Joseph Andrews, who went to church with Ferrell in Tallahassee, where he grew up.
Those who attended church with him, coached him or played football with him, spoke about the man they knew.
"I am so proud to stand here and say that I knew that young man. I loved that young man and he loved us," said Ira Reynolds, Ferrell's high school football coach.
His former teammates, including his brother Willie, all stood together as one of them shared kind words not about Ferrell's death, but about his life.
"What is most important on that tombstone is the dash, the time that he was here and the success we had - that is what we are going to celebrate today," said Leo Jackson, who Ferrell played football with.
They ended it with a huddle in Ferrell's memory.
Throughout the church you could see orange and green ribbons, a tribute to Florida A&M University where Ferrell was a student; there were also pictures of him pinned next to people's hearts.
The pastor acknowledged Ferrell's sudden death and the questions that the family is left with.
"We have so many questions, but the biggest one is why," said The Elder Lewis Anderson, Pastor at Mt. Pleasant Primitive Baptist Church.
But he asked family and friends to have faith and to focus on their memories.
There was also a memorial held for Ferrell in Charlotte. The group True Healing Under God invited people to Temple Church International on Tuckaseegee Road Saturday morning to remember Ferrell.
People at the memorial called for justice and tougher charges in the case.
Kerrick's attorney has said Kerrick was afraid for his life because Ferrell ran toward police.
They were first called to the area after a 911 call that Ferrell was trying to get into a woman's home.
Kerrick opened fire, but since the police chief said it was obvious Ferrell was unarmed, Kerrick was charged.
Investigators believe Ferrell may have been looking for help after a car crash. Ferrell's toxicology results are still pending.
Eyewitness News contacted the North Carolina Attorney General's office and was told the case is still under investigation.
Channel 9 is committed to following every new development of this major story until it is over.
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