January 24, 2009 – 4:12 PM
DALLAS — Chris Brown heard the gunshots. Then, he saw his uncle lying facedown in the grass.
“By the time we got outside, he was on his belly,” Brown said. “There was a cop sitting on his back-Dallas Police. He was not moving. I automatically knew he was gone.”
Police shot and killed 44-year-old Terrance Kennedy around 12:30 a.m. Saturday in the front yard outside 518 E. Peachtree St. Kennedy allegedly tried to grab an officer’s gun, but relatives and neighbors say he had run from the police and was shot in the back.
“My understanding is he was attempting to take one of the officers’ sidearms,” said Police Chief Gary Buckner.
Officer R.R. Flick and Sgt. J.C. Propst were involved in the shooting. The chief said Kennedy reached for Flick’s gun, but he wouldn’t say which officer fired at Kennedy or whether both shot at him.
The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation is probing the incident and will determine if the shooting was justified. Buckner said the Dallas Police Department is conducting a parallel internal investigation.
“We’re definitely going to get to the bottom of it and find out what happened and exactly what took place,” Buckner said.
Kennedy’s sister, Sondra Brown-Thompson, said he was sitting on the porch of her home, 520 E. Peachtree St., when police arrived. Officers were trying to serve an arrest warrant on Kennedy.
Relatives said Kennedy ran from the officers and was shocked with a Taser stun gun and blasted with pepper spray. They say he didn’t reach for a gun and believe the shooting was unnecessary.
“They could have tased him once, maybe tased him twice and put handcuffs on him,” Brown-Thompson said. “They didn’t have to shoot him.”
Buckner said he couldn’t discuss whether the Taser and pepper spray were used due to the SBI and internal investigations.
Dallas Police said in a news release that Kennedy was shot once and died at Gaston Memorial Hospital.
Flick and Propst were placed on administrative leave, a customary procedure when police officers are involved in a shooting. Flick has worked for the department since February 2006 and Propst was hired in June 2006.
Kennedy, who was also known as Tiny Brown, grew up in a large family with four brothers and four sisters. One sister, Kenyada Kennedy, runs a neighborhood grocery store at 211 S. Davis St.
“Terrance was a good boy,” she said. “He loved his nieces and nephews. He helped the neighborhood. He was a great guy, he was a brother to us, he was a loved one.”
John Paul Kennedy said his brother, Terrance, worked for him at his remodeling business and had also worked for a roofing company.
Terrance Kennedy has an extensive criminal record and was sentenced to a combined 32 years in prison. Most recently, he was released in July 2007 after serving almost 12 years on convictions for possession and sale of a Schedule II controlled substance.
A deputy in the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office warrant repository said Kennedy had a Dec. 21 arrest warrant for a charge of assault on a female.
With a tear-streaked face, Brown-Thompson walked back and forth in her gravel driveway Saturday afternoon, shouting that Kennedy didn’t deserve to die.
You can reach Corey Friedman at 704-869-1828.
Terrance Kennedy, who was shot and killed early Saturday morning after allegedly reaching for a police officer’s gun, has an extensive criminal history and has served five prison sentences, according to the N.C. Department of Correction. His convictions and prison terms are listed below.
Sentence began: Aug. 31, 1995
Released: July 13, 2007
Convictions: Possession with intent to sell Schedule II controlled substance (three counts), sell Schedule II controlled substance (three counts)
Sentence began: Jan. 6, 1987
Released: Aug. 13, 1993
Convictions: Assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury (two counts), common-law robbery
Sentence began: Jan. 19, 1984
Released: Nov. 4, 1985
Convictions: Felony breaking and entering, common-law robbery, assault on a female
Sentence began: Feb. 2, 1982
Released: Dec. 13, 1982
Convictions: Breaking /entering and larceny, larceny – more more than $200
Sentence began: Dec. 9, 1980
Released: Feb. 22, 1982
Convictions: Misdemeanor breaking and entering (two counts), larceny – more more than $200 (two counts)