CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A report from Charlotte-Mecklenburg police says a driver shot and killed by a state Highway Patrol trooper was a 29-year-old white man with a speech and hearing impairment.
The report provides no other details on the impairment of the driver, identified by the State Bureau of Investigation as Daniel Kevin Harris.
The SBI identified the trooper as Jermaine Saunders. Highway Patrol officials said in a news release that he was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting.
State Highway Patrol officials said in a news release that the incident began about 6:15 p.m. Thursday when a trooper tried to pull over a vehicle for a speeding violation on Interstate 485. The release says the driver led authorities on a brief pursuit before stopping.
“I was here in my driveway and I saw the highway patrol car come through and it was smoking really bad,” said Mark Barringer. “About 10 seconds later, I heard one gunshot,” NBC affiliate WCNC reports.
Barringer says when he went to take a closer look, he saw Harris in the middle of the street. He died just a few feet from his front door. Several neighbors have put flowers near where Harris took his final breaths.
“It was surreal, you just don’t expect to see something like that,” said Barringer. “When the gunshot went off, it was scary.”
Detectives say Trooper Saunders and Harris got into “an encounter” before he fired his weapon. Neighbors say Harris’ car spun out of control and was shot almost immediately after exiting the vehicle.
They say Harris was likely trying to communicate with the trooper using sign language before he was killed.