CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The North Carolina Highway Patrol state trooper that shot and killed a deaf man in northeast Charlotte last August will not face charges for the incident, officials said.
According to Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray, Trooper Jermaine Saunders’ use of deadly force was not unlawful during the encounter due to Saunders’ belief that Daniel Harris posed an imminent threat.
Murray elaborated in documents filed Monday that the critical inquiry in the case is whether it reasonably appeared to Saunders that deadly force was necessary and that the document specifically does not address issues relating to tactics or whether the trooper followed correct police procedures or Highway Patrol directives.
The incident occurred on August 18, 2016 following a traffic stop that turned into a chase on I-485 that continued to Rocky River Road before ending at Seven Oaks Drive. Saunders told SBI detectives that Harris exited his vehicle and sprinted directly toward him with a metal object in his right hand. When Harris got within 2-4 feet of Saunders, the trooper fired one shot, striking Harris in the chest.
“Trooper Saunders, who had taken a ‘felony stop’ position consisting of exiting his patrol vehicle and drawing his service gun, had only seconds to decide why Harris was running at him, what the metal object was in Harris’ hand and how to protect himself and prevent his gun from being compromised,” Murray said in a statement.
To read the full report, including Saunders' interviews with SBI detectives, click here.