Woman sues US marshal who shot, killed fiancé at Charlotte gas station

CHARLOTTE — A woman is suing a U.S. marshal who shot and killed her fiancé outside a Plaza Midwood gas station in 2021.

The lawsuit was filed on March 23, exactly three years after the marshal shot 32-year-old Frankie Jennings at the Citgo gas station on The Plaza at Parkwood Avenue.


On March 23, 2021, Jennings was pumping gas when federal marshals attempted to serve him warrants. According to the district attorney’s report, when Jennings spotted law enforcement, he ran to the driver’s side of his Mercedes.

Jennings got into a brief struggle with two law enforcement officers. During the struggle, he was able to put the Mercedes in gear and the car began to move forward. That was when Senior Inspector Eric Tillman fired three shots, killing Jennings.

The DA said he would not seek charges against Tillman.

In the lawsuit, Jennings’ fiancée, Nayja Johnson, said the marshals acted recklessly by shooting him when others cars were parked at the gas station and were driving on the surrounding roads.

Johnson said she and her child were in the car with Jennings. He died in front of them, which caused lasting emotional damage, she said.

In the lawsuit, Johnson says the officers drove unmarked cars and, though Jennings had a warrant out for his arrest, he didn’t know marshals were actively looking for him.

Johnson addresses the high-risk law enforcement maneuver marshals used called vehicle containment. They surrounded Jennings’ car with their cars, blockading him. Johnson pointed out that this all happened while she and her son were still in the car with her fiancé.

“Tillman and the CRFTF’s freestyled plan to include Johnson as part of the vehicle containment is extreme and outrageous behavior,” the lawsuit reads.

Tillman never saw Jennings pick up the gun, Johnson said. She alleges the use of deadly force not justified as he was not in the path of Jennings’ car.

“Tillman shot Jennings, who was inside the Mercedes, three times while not being in the direct path of the vehicle, while not seeing Jennings grab the gun which was well within his reach and reportedly fearing [Jennings’] car making slow moving contact with a [officer’s truck],” the lawsuit reads.

She said their son witnessed his dad’s death, adding she was also handcuffed by marshals without probable cause.

Johnson is suing for damages to be paid to her and is specifically asking for punitive damages from Tillman.

Channel 9 has reached out to the U.S. Marshals Service for comment.

(WATCH BELOW: Man shot, killed by US Marshals at Charlotte gas station)