Witness: Henry Threatened to Kill Himself
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry was angrily yelling at his fiancee Wednesday as she drove a pickup truck out of her parents' driveway, saying they needed to talk, a witness recounted Thursday evening.
Lee Hardy, a neighbor, said he was trimming his trees on a 15-foot ladder as he watched the yellow pickup truck zoom past him - with Henry in the bed and his fiancee Loleini Tonga at the wheel.
"He was banging on the top, on the doors, screaming at the lady, 'We need to talk,' " Hardy said.
"He said, 'If you take off, I'm going to jump off the truck and kill myself,' " Hardy said.
Hardy said he was less than 2 feet from Tongas' driveway when the pickup drove past. He said it was going about 25 to 30 mph.
Hardy said he then heard a noise from down the street and police sirens.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) Police said Henry "came out" of the back of the pickup truck being driven by Tonga after a domestic dispute. Henry, 26, died of massive head injuries at 6:36 a.m. Thursday.
Police said Tonga was never taken into custody. It remained unclear if police will file any charges.
Separate calls made to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police dispatchers paint a similar scenario.
A woman - whom police did not identify - called 911 and reported seeing a shirtless man pounding on the back of a pickup truck driven by a woman.
"There's a black man with no shirt on, his arm in a cast," she said. "He's beating on the back of the truck window. ... I don't know if he's trying to break in.
"It looks crazy ... a girl is driving," she said.
The police department edited the calls and released them Thursday without including the callers' names or any other information. It was unclear how many calls were received about the incident.
"Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department detectives continue to work diligently on this active investigation," police spokeswoman Rosalyn Harrington said Thursday morning.
In another call, a man reports seeing a body in the road.
"I need an ambulance now. ... I just pulled up, there's a man in the road. He looks dead. There is no movement."
The caller tells police that he's in his car about 200 feet from the person lying in the road and that a crowd of people are around him.
The caller did not witness the accident.
Police said the accident occurred during a domestic dispute, but they did not elaborate. It remained unclear, as well, whether Henry fell out of the truck or was forced out, or for how long he was in the bed of the truck.
Hardy's comments are the first that detail any conversation between the couple, who were to wed in March. They were staying in Charlotte while Henry was on injured reserve.
Hardy said the Tonga family are great neighbors. Their son often mows his grass. They own three properties that surround his home.
The family is very close, he said.
He and other neighbors mentioned that the family has invited them to large luaus at their home with roasting pigs and hula dancing.
"They came and got my girls for trick or treat and a big Easter egg hunt," said Jamie Dunn, who is friends with Loleini Tonga's sister.
"They are just a really friendly family," Dunn said.