No charges for NC trooper in deadly shooting of deaf man, DA says

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – No charges will be filed against the North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper who fatally shot a man with a hearing and speech impairment in August 2016.

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District Attorney Andrew Murray announced Monday that it was not unreasonable for trooper Jermaine Saunders to fire his weapon Aug. 18, fatally striking 29-year-old Daniel Kevin Harris.

“There is no dispute that Trooper Saunders shot and killed Daniel Harris,” court documents state.

The incident happened on Seven Oaks Drive near Rocky River Road. Officials from the State Highway Patrol said that shortly after 6 p.m. troopers tried to stop a Volvo on I-485 near the 30-mile marker for a speeding violation. Harris reached speeds of over 100 miles per hour during the seven-mile chase that led vehicles to Seven Oaks Drive, according to court documents.

There is no evidence that Harris being deaf played any role in the shooting, according to court documents.

UPDATE: Deaf man’s family says he was unarmed when killed by trooper

Troopers said Harris got out of the vehicle, and that led to an encounter where a shot was fired. Harris died at the scene.

“Given the choices faced by Trooper Saunders, the compressed window of time in which he had to evaluate the situation and act, along with the stress of the situation, I have concluded it was not unreasonable for Trooper Saunders to fire his weapon. Therefore, no charges will be filed against Trooper Saunders in this case,” Murray stated.

Saunders was not wearing a body camera and his vehicle was not equipped with a camera system.

“According to the believable evidence in this case, Harris knew he was being chased by Trooper Saunders and knew that Trooper Saunders had twice tried to subdue Harris at gunpoint,” court documents state.

Officials said Trooper Saunders was placed on administrative leave at the time, which is standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting.

SBI officials said Friday they were in the process of obtaining all available dash cam and body camera video from SHP as well as CMPD.

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