Family pleads for justice one month after son shot, killed ‘by accident’


MATTHEWS, N.C. — “Oh my f—–g God,” the 911 caller says. 

It’s Saturday July 6, shortly after 1 a.m., when a frantic 911 call comes in. The caller tells police he accidentally shot his friend. 

“I’m f—–g scared,” the caller says. “Oh my God. I can’t believe I did this s—t. I shot him on accident.”

Police responded to the playground inside the Paces Pointe Apartment Homes in Matthews. Authorities found Jonathan Swierski, 20, dead from a shotgun blast fired close to his chest. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.

“He says, “I’m sorry he’s gone,'” Jonathan’s father, Scott, says detectives told him. “I started just screaming. I couldn’t believe it.”

“I wish you could just wake up and say it was a bad dream,” Jonathan’s mother, Dawn, said. 

For the Swierski’s, it’s a nightmare that never goes away. 

“I still can’t believe it,” said Scott. “I can’t believe I will never see my son again. It’s unbelievable to me.”

By all accounts, Jonathan was a loving son and loyal friend. He played football at Weddington High School, where he was a member of the ROTC. He planned to join the military.

“He had a big heart,” said Scott. “He loved people. He loved life and he was loyal as hell.”

In an exclusive interview, the Swierski’s say they are heartbroken over the death of their son. They are also angry. One month to the day after Jonathan was killed, no one has been arrested or charged with a crime.

“He’s dead and there’s no accountability for his death,” said Scott. “Like it’s worthless. Like he’s garbage. Like he means nothing.”

“Jonathan is on my mantle,” said Dawn, referring to a peach glass urn containing Jonathan’s ashes.  “That’s all I have left of my baby boy. It’s not right. Somebody has got to be held accountable for this.”

Matthews police won’t say what happened. Scott tells FOX 46 detectives told him that his son wanted to help a friend who was being threatened. A fight was about to go down, stemming from an argument over a woman. 

Jonathan headed to the Paces Pointe apartments with his girlfriend and two friends, one of whom had a shotgun, Scott said detectives told him.

It’s unclear what happens next.

According to the 911 call, the shooter says he was hit and the shotgun went off “on accident.”

“I don’t know how I pulled the trigger,” the caller says frantically. “He hit me. F—–g shot off. Oh my God.”

The 911 operator asks where he’s calling from.

“Oh my God I can’t believe this s–t happened,” the caller responds. “I’m so sorry.”

In North Carolina, the act of pointing a gun at someone is considered a crime. There have been other cases where accidental shootings led to involuntary manslaughter convictions. 

FOX 46 asked Matthews police why they made the decision not to press charges.

“Even if it was an accident, how is this not a case of involuntary manslaughter?,” asked FOX 46 reporter Matt Grant.

“I can’t comment on the specifics of the case because it is an open investigation,” said Matthews Police Ofc. Tim Aycock. “We have to go where the evidence takes us and, at this point, we haven’t said definitely if we’re going to charge or not going to charge.”

“What would you say to the family who’s lost their son and feels like there’s no answers, there’s no accountability, and there’s no justice?,” asked Grant.

“Our heart definitely goes out to them,” said Aycock. “Most of us here are parents, and they’re living the ultimate parent nightmare.”

“We represent their son,” he added. “And we hope that, at some point, they have some peace that we are doing everything we can to represent him properly.”

At the spot where Jonathan was killed, his parents and 13-year-old sister Riley knelt down and cried. 

“I miss you buddy,” said Scott. 

The family is now left with grief and unanswered questions. 

“I can’t wait ’till we see you again,” said Dawn, before hugging her daughter. 

The Swierski’s know they can’t bring their son back. They just hope they can bring him justice.

“We’re going to get him justice,” Scott told Riley. “We’re going to get him justice.”

“But it doesn’t mean anything to me,” she responded, crying. 

“I know,” said Scott. “But it’s all we can do. All we can do is get him justice and pray that God helps us get through.”

Matthews police turned the case over to the district attorney’s office. A spokesperson says it could take up to three months to review the case. 

“We are the primary charging agency and this is still an open investigation even though no charges have been filed,” said Aycock. “Therefore, after the DA’s review, we will be making a final decision on the case.”

The DA’s office could also seek charges, if deemed appropriate, by submitting the case to the Grand Jury. 

Mecklenburg County District Attorney Statement

No one from the district attorney’s office would go on camera but spokeswoman Meghan McDonald gave FOX 46 the following statement:

“The Matthews Police Department is the primary charging agency. Matthews police have determined the facts did not support charges and have asked the DA’s Office to review their decision. If, after the prosecutors’ review, prosecutors believe charges are appropriate, the case will be submitted to the Grand Jury.

When a homicide occurs in Mecklenburg County, a member of the District Attorney’s Homicide Team responds to the scene as a resource for local law enforcement to assist police as requested. The Matthews Police Department is an independent law enforcement agency, and under North Carolina law, police have the primary authority to make charging decisions based on the available evidence. The District Attorney’s Office has a statutory obligation to advise law enforcement and provide consultation. In this case, Matthews police, after consulting with the Assistant District Attorney on scene, declined to seek charges. The department then asked the District Attorney’s Office to review the full investigation and the police department’s decision. The DA’s Homicide Team is currently reviewing the case. It is the office’s general practice to complete a review of an investigation within three months. The Homicide Team has been in communication with the victim’s family about this process. 

As this case is under review, the office cannot offer further comment at this time.”

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