SBI looking for witnesses to chase, deadly shooting of deaf man

SBI looking for witnesses to chase, deadly shooting of deaf man
(Sky3 | WBTV)
(Sky3 | WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - State investigators are looking for witnesses to a vehicle chase with the North Carolina Highway Patrol that ended with the fatal shooting of a deaf man.

Daniel Harris, 29, was shot and and killed by a state trooper along Seven Oaks Drive last Thursday.

Harris was driving on I-485 last Thursday when troopers tried to pull him over for speeding. He fled and led troopers on a seven-mile chase. Troopers said the driver, later identified as Harris, got out of the vehicle, and that led to an encounter where a shot was fired. Harris died at the scene.

Tuesday, the State Bureau of Investigations said it was conducting a criminal investigation into the fatal shooting of Harris by Trooper Jermaine Saunders.

"The SBI is conducting a separate and independent criminal investigation into the incident therefore we ask that if you have any information concerning the pursuit between Harris' vehicle and the NC State Highway Patrol or where the pursuit was concluded off of Rocky River Road in Charlotte, please contact the NC State Bureau of Investigation," officials said.

You can call the SBI at 1-888-624-7222.

Trooper Saunders was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting.

Monday night, several people lit candles and left flowers for Harris in the very spot where he was shot and killed.

Harris' brother, Sam Harris, spoke to reporters about the shooting and his concerns with the incident. Sam Harris is also deaf and addressed reporters through an interpreter.

"Our community is grieving tonight because of Daniel. He's going to be a hero in our community," said Sam Harris through the interpreter.

Sam Harris described his brother as a loyal, sociable man who had a great smile. He called his brother's death a tragedy and said he thinks the killing was the result of a misunderstanding between his deaf brother and the trooper.

"What we need to know is that the system is able to change to prevent horrific tragedies like this from happening where people die because of something simple as 'I don't hear what the police say because I'm deaf'," explained Sam Harris.

He said he thinks that law enforcement officers need different training in order to better interact with deaf people. He said he has also had run-ins with law enforcement officers where there is a communication barrier.

"It's a training issue and a human issue. It's not a military that they're interacting with," explained Sam Harris.

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