SPRINGFIELD, Va. — The FedEx driver praised for helping a man experiencing a behavioral health crisis before he died in police custody said he felt led to show compassion.
Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis described his actions as heroic despite the fatal outcome.
Douglass Kennedo was driving his normal route on Amherst Avenue in Springfield, Virginia almost a month ago when he was interrupted by a man running into the middle of traffic. He recalled how other witnesses tried to help 44-year-old Temiki Murray of Lorton but refused any assistance until Kennedo showed up.
“I'm that type of person that helps everybody,” Kennedo told WUSA9. “If I can help, I will. I felt like that's what I was sent there to do was to help him.”
When officers arrived on the scene, newly released body cam video captured Murray running away to a nearby parking lot. Kennedo followed him in his truck and quickly helped de-escalate the situation.
“I parked my car, ran to him and grabbed him, and gave him a hug and said everything was going to be OK,” Kennedo said. “I told him how God was with him. He kept saying something about his son, but I told him to calm down and that his son is going to be OK.”
During this interaction, officers stood back.
In the video, one officer can be heard saying, “We got a FedEx driver here who’s got some good rapport with him. I’ll wait till another officer gets here.”
Police eventually took over the scene and caught Murray holding onto Kennedo through the body camera. They restrained Murray on the ground, a move Davis stressed followed proper protocol.
“You're not in trouble but I want to detain you because I don't want you running away,” the officer is heard saying in the video.
Murray then begins shouting for unknown reasons, as he is out of camera frame in the video, on the ground. He is then shown writhing around on the ground as police tell him to relax, "We're here to help," and appear to be attempting to hold him still.
Despite medics conducting CPR, Murray died by the time they reached the hospital. Police never used force.
Davis stressed the incident is an example of proper collaboration and communication.
As the police department waits on the results of an autopsy report, police suspect he was under the influence. A preliminary report revealed Murray had an enlarged heart.
“I was trying to save him from anything happening to him so he could still live but God had a different plan,” Kennedo said.
Kennedo, a father of four girls who lives in Upper Marlboro, used to work at a hospital and drug rehabilitation center. He said he is used to facing chaotic interactions. To him, one of the most helpful approaches is to show some empathy.
“You can't judge a book by its cover because everybody in some way needs help,” he said.