What happened on the day of Frankie Jennings’ death? Here’s a timeline.

·4 min read

The Mecklenburg County District Attorney announced last week that his office would not pursue charges against the federal U.S. marshal who shot and killed Frankie Jennings in Charlotte in March. Family, friends and activists gathered for a vigil for Jennings on Tuesday morning.

The shooting, at a gas station near Villa Heights and Plaza Midwood, came after at least two marshals followed Jennings around Charlotte, from a hotel near the airport to a tire shop, and ultimately to a Citgo where one of the marshals opened fire.

Interviews with the marshals and other witnesses to the shooting are described in the District Attorney’s report.

The DA’s review and other sources indicate the marshals, along with other members of the Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force, were on the case of finding and arresting Jennings after three warrants were filed in Carolina Beach on March 5: assault with deadly weapon against a government official, fleeing to elude arrest with a motor vehicle and reckless driving to endanger.

In Charlotte, local police officers were not present during the fatal shooting but records show officers with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police assisted the task force in finding Jennings, who turned 32 on the day he died. The DA report indicates the marshals used CMPD’s Real Time Crime Command Center to track Jennings as he moved through Charlotte. The specialty real time office inside CMPD uses a vast network of tech tools and camera feeds to monitor public spaces around the city.

What is the US Marshals Service, and should its deputies wear bodycams?

Timeline of March 23, when Frankie Jennings was killed

That Tuesday morning, Senior Inspector Eric Tillman of the U.S. Marshals Service got word that Jennings was in Charlotte. Tillman and his team began making plans to find and arrest Jennings.

Jennings, who was with a woman later identified as his fiance Nayja Johnson, booked a hotel room near the Charlotte airport, according to police. Tillman, meanwhile, had been waiting outside in an unmarked car.

While he waited, Tillman sees a man who he believed to be Jennings drive past him in a black Mercury Mariner. Tillman followed.

Jennings and Johnson drive through downtown and into Plaza Midwood, arriving later that morning at a tire shop. Jennings got out of the driver’s seat and stood outside.

Nearby, Tillman watched through binoculars. In an interview after the shooting, Tillman said he held off on arresting Jennings at the tire shop, thinking that Jennings would try to flee. Tillman said he had planned to wait until Jennings went back to the hotel to make an arrest.

Shortly after he arrived at the tire shop, Jennings got into a Mercedes that was parked there. He and Johnson, now in separate cars, drove to a Citgo at the corner of The Plaza and Parkwood Avenue. The marshals followed.

At about 11 a.m., Jennings and Johnson pulled into the Citgo.

As Jennings was pumping gas into the car that Johnson was driving, Tillman — who followed them to the gas station — decided to go in for an arrest. He and his team converged on the gas station, video shows.

Jennings had been pumping gas for about two minutes, the surveillance video shows, when two unmarked law enforcement vehicles — a Chevy Tahoe and a black pickup truck — pulled up on either side of the gas pump.

As they park their cars, a deputy with the Union County Sheriff’s Office and Tillman, driving the Tahoe, quickly get out and run toward Jennings while pointing their guns at him.

Jennings briefly put his hands in the air, then jogged around the back of his Mercedes and got into the driver’s seat.

Video from one of the gas station’s surveillance cameras shows Tillman and Deputy Tate Mills rush up to the Mercedes. One put his foot against the door while the other tried to open it.

Within about five seconds, a third law enforcement vehicle, a silver SUV, pulled in front of the Mercedes and blocked much of the surveillance camera’s view. The Mercedes pulled forward, and Tillman opened fire.

Less than 15 seconds elapsed between the task force officers arriving and the Citgo and Tillman opening fire. Tillman shot three times, according to the district attorney’s report. Each bullet hit Jennings, the DA’s report says. Later Tillman told detectives he saw Jennings reaching toward a gun in the middle console of the Mercedes and feared for his own life and the other officers.

Deputy US Marshal who shot, killed Frankie Jennings won’t face charges, Meck DA says

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