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Deputy U.S. Marshal Won’t Be Charged for Fatally Shooting Suspect in North Carolina

By Steve Neavling

A deputy U.S. Marshal who fatally shot a man at a Charlotte, N.C., gas station in March won’t be charged, a district attorney said Tuesday. 

Eric Tillman, a senior inspector with the U.S. Marshals Service, was trying to serve multiple warrants at a gas station when he fired three rounds at Frankie Jennings, The Charlotte Observer reports.

In a letter to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police chief, Mecklenburg County District Attorney Spencer Merriweather III said a struggle had ensued between Tillman and Jennings at the driver’s side door of Jennings’ black Mercedes. After Jennings put the car in gear, causing the vehicle to move forward, Jennings’ “hands reaching toward a gun in the center console cupholder,” prompting Tillman to fire three shots at him. 

Jennings died at the scene, and a loaded handgun was found in his car’s center console, Merriweather wrote. 

“Given the corroborated evidence that Senior Inspector Tillman was reasonable in his belief that he and other officers faced an imminent threat of great bodily harm or death, the evidence in this case would be insufficient to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Senior Inspector Tillman did not act in defense of himself or another,” Merriweather wrote.

“Consequently, I will not be seeking charges related to the death of Frankie Jennings.”

Jennings had a total of 16 warrants from three different cities. 


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