NC trooper who fatally shot deaf man will not face charges, DA says

- A North Carolina State Trooper who shot and killed a deaf man following a chase in northeast Charlotte back in August 2016 will not face charges, officials said.

Mecklenburg County District Attorney R. Andrew Murray announced Monday that Trooper Jermaine Saunders would not be charged in the death of Daniel Harris.

"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." DA Murray said in a case summary released Monday.

Related: Deaf man shot, killed by NC trooper in northeast Charlotte

Harris, 29, was shot and killed by Trooper Saunders after he failed to pull over during a traffic stop. According to authorities, North Carolina Highway Patrol tried to stop Harris' vehicle on I-485 near the 20 mile marker for a speeding violation. After a short chase the vehicle headed onto Rocky River Road and Seven Oaks Drive. Investigators say Harris exited his vehicle on Seven Oaks Drive and began to charge Trooper Saunders with something metal in his hand. The encounter let to Trooper Saunders firing a shot and striking Harris. He was pronounced dead on scene. 

Read District Attorney's full report here.

During the investigation, authorities learned Harris was not armed and was hard of hearing.

"There is no evidence that Harris being deaf played any role in the incident," Murray said.

Saunders was not wearing a body camera and his vehicle was not equipped with a camera system. In addition to Saunders, three other people witnessed the actual shooting.

"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."

In a previous interview, Harris' family said they hope for some sort of changes to be made to vehicle registration that would alert officers when the person driving is deaf or hard of hearing. 

Related: Family of deaf man shot, killed by NC trooper speak out

 

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