Charlotte, NC – The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) has released bodycam that showed the officer-involved shooting of an armed suspect outside a Burger King restaurant in March (video below).
The incident occurred at approximately 9 a.m. on March 25, after a witness called 911 to report that an armed man had walked behind the counter and pointed a gun at an employee inside the Burger King restaurant on Beatties Ford Road, CMPD said in the video release.
“He got a gun,” one woman told the 911 operator repeatedly, according to WBTV.
Within minutes, a second woman called 911 from the parking lot to report that the suspect, later identified as 27-year-old Danquirs Franklin, came out of the restaurant and pulled a gun as he walked towards her vehicle, police said.
The woman said she took off from the restaurant, and told the 911 operator that she believed the suspect had gone back inside, WBTV reported.
Employees and customers also fled the area, the woman said.
“Both callers independently called 911 between 9:00 a.m. and 9:02 a.m.,” CMPD said in the release. “Metro Division Officer Wende Kerl and Metro Division Officer Larry Deal were dispatched to the call for service at 9:02 a.m. and they both arrived at 9:04 a.m.”
Officer Kerl’s bodycam footage showed Franklin as he squatted outside the open passenger door of a vehicle in the Burger King parking lot.
“Let me see your hands!” the officers ordered, as they advanced on the armed suspect with their weapons drawn.
“Sir, put the gun down,” Officer Kerl told Franklin, whose hands were not visible.
Franklin remained crouched, and looked down at the ground. He was inches away from a man sitting in the passenger seat of the vehicle.
A woman then stepped off of the sidewalk and started to approach Franklin from behind.
“Ma’am! Get out of the way!” the officers commanded, before they repeatedly ordered Franklin to drop his weapon.
“Put it on the ground!” they yelled.
The video showed Franklin as he appeared to reach his right hand into his pocket and drew out a firearm.
“Officer Kerl perceived an imminent, deadly threat and subsequently fired her department issued firearm two times, striking Mr. Franklin,” CMPD said.
“You told me to…” Franklin told Officer Kerl just after the shots were fired, the video showed.
He then complied with the officers’ continued commands to drop his weapon, as he slumped over against the open car door and onto the pavement.
Franklin was rushed to Atrium Health, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
Prior to the bodycam release, city leaders gathered outside the city’s Government Center and asked citizens to remain calm, WBTV reported.
“We owe it to the community for them to see what has been recorded,” Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said. “We will all work together - protest is important - people have the right to do that.”
At least seven protests were already scheduled in anticipation of the video release.
Various protests and a school walkout had already taken place prior to the video release, The News & Observer reported.
“We are prepared for the worst but hoping for the best,” CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said, according to CNN. “We expect it to be peaceful, but if it’s otherwise, we’ve got to be prepared for that as well.”
Officer Kerl is a 24-year veteran of CMPD, according to WBTV.
She has been placed on paid administrative leave while the incident remains under investigation, as per protocol, Charlotte Magazine reported.
Chief Putney said he expects that CMPD’s internal investigation into the officer-involved shooting will be completed in approximately two weeks.
The findings will be forwarded to District Attorney Spencer Merriweather, who will determine whether or not Officer Kerl will face criminal charges.
Merriweather’s review of the case is expected to take approximately six weeks.
You can watch bodycam footage of the officers’ encounter with Franklin in the video below: