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Former Girlfriend Of Danquirs Franklin Breaks Her Silence

Danquirs Franklin and his three children.
Ariel, the mother of the children.

Danquirs Franklin’s former girlfriend and mother of his children has been largely silent since he was shot and killed by a CMPD officer in March. But now she’s ready to talk.

The 26-year-old listened last week when Mecklenburg District Attorney Spencer Merriweather said he would not to prosecute officer Wende Kerl for fatally shooting 27-year-old Franklin. Merriweather said he couldn’t prove to a jury that Kerl was unreasonable in her belief that she faced an imminent threat. 

She was initially silent when Franklin’s family held a press conference this week when they stated the public didn’t understand who Franklin truly was and that domestic issues with his former girlfriend led to the Burger King incident.

Now, Franklin’s former girlfriend Ariel—she asked that we use her first name only is ready to speak. She wants the public to know first and foremost what kind of person Franklin was—a hard worker and a devoted father.

"Danquirs was a good person. The person that day that everybody seen, it was not him. He was upset and hurt like any normal person would be during a break up. And that’s not the person that he was."

Ariel says the couple had known each other since middle school. When she called things off with Franklin and began seeing a coworker, she says he couldn’t let go.

"It was like I was fading away. His feelings were still there. It was hard for him to let go of anything," she said.

And that’s what led him to the Burger King where Ariel used to work. Franklin brought a gun into the restaurant and pointed it toward people, he was angry and upset she said. He was looking for the man Ariel was seeing.

He also brought two of their young children. Images in the D.A.’s report show Franklin pointing the gun, while the children apparently watch. When Franklin was in the parking lot, Ariel says the children were in an office inside.

"They don’t forget things. Certain things they bring up and I’m like oh I didn’t know you seen or heard that," she said.

When Franklin moved outside Ariel followed him trying to calm him down, she says. 

"I know how it is. A black man, right there, they know he’s armed. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I was right there," she said. "They told me to go back in, of course I was going to cooperate."

People she says question her all the time as to why she didn't stay outside.

"We both would have been shot and my kids wouldn’t have no parents, you don’t do what they tell you to do, you see what happened."

She says the police should have given more clear direction that day. She wishes one of their commands would have been "let me see your hands" instead of "put the gun down" since she says Franklin wasn't initally holding the gun when the police arrived. He had to reach inside his clothes to get the weapon she says, and that's when he was shot.

A video still from the DA's report. Danquirs Franklin points his gun, two of his children are in the background.
Credit Mecklenburg County District Attorney
A video still from the DA's report. Danquirs Franklin points his gun, two of his children are in the background.

Ariel has been quiet since the shooting. She’s heard what the district attorney had to say in his report. And she heard what Franklin’s family said in a press conference this week placing blame on her, stating she had an affair and could not care for their children.

Ariel says it hurts to hear those words. She says her relationship with the Franklin family is no better than when Franklin was alive.

"No support like it’s been. When he was here it was just me and him always there for the kids with him not being here it’s harder," Ariel said. She says when Franklin was alive she would watch their children at night and when she was at work during the day, it was Franklin's turn. 

Ariel is still processing the trauma of the shooting and life without Franklin, especially when it comes to their children.

"Especially when you have your youngest one always talking about him every day. 'My daddy did this or my daddy this.' She says good things about him because that’s all she can remember. She was a daddy’s girl so it’s kind of hard some times."

It’s a bumpy road, Ariel says. It’s hard and stressful and sometimes she breaks down out of the blue. She remains focused on her children trying to comprehend the loss of their father while trying to comprehend that loss herself.

Sarah Delia is a Senior Producer for Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.