(CBS News) CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It was 2:30 Saturday morning when 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell swerved off the road in a single car accident. He climbed out the rear window and knocked on the front door of a house looking for help.
The startled homeowner thought it was a burglar and called 911. Police altered the caller's voice to protect her identity.
"He's not in the house, he's in the front yard yelling," the caller said. "Oh, my God."
Three police officers responded. When Ferrell ran toward them, officer Randall Kerrick drew his gun and. The dead man was unarmed.
"I don't want to bury my son, my son should be burying me," says Georgia Ferrell, the victim's mom.
She says her son Jonathan respected the police. His sister is a cop.
"I have questions, but they will be answered soon enough," she says. But she does want answers.
The Charlotte-Mecklenberg Policeand said he did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon.
Michael Greene, Kerrick's defense attorney, says his client's actions "were justified on the night in question."
Ferrell, a former collegiate football player, had no criminal record. Charlotte-Mecklenberg police have not released video from a cruiser dashboard camera that shows Ferrell approaching the officers.
But they did show it to Ferrell's family. They plan to sue the police for Kerrick's deadly force.
"I do forgive him," Georgia Ferrell says. "I so forgive him, but I do want justice."
If convicted of voluntary manslaughter, Kerrick could receive a sentence of 17 years in prison.