Deaf father killed by North Carolina trooper during traffic stop

KABC logo
Tuesday, August 23, 2016

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (KABC) -- A 29-year-old deaf father was shot to death by a state trooper in North Carolina after a traffic stop following a brief chase, authorities said.

Daniel Kevin Harris was killed last Thursday after being pulled over by a trooper in Charlotte, North Carolina, for speeding on I-485.

The trooper says he tried to pull Harris over for six miles before he finally stopped after pulling into his driveway. Why Harris didn't pull over earlier is unclear.

Officials say when Harris got out of his car, an encounter took place between Harris and the trooper, causing a shot to be fired. Harris died at the scene.

Neighbors believe Harris was trying to communicate using sign language when the trooper opened fire.

The State Bureau of Investigation 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.

The SBI told ABC News that "details of the encounter are still being investigated" and that the agency is working on getting body and dash-cam footage

It was not clear if police knew that Harris was deaf at the time of the shooting.

Harris' brother, Charles, said in a statement posted on Facebook: "my family and I dont understand why it had to happened."

He said his brother was "really scared" of cops because of publicized police confrontations with unarmed or black people.

"Worst thing brother Daniel is deaf. how he can communicate with polices and able to feel safe and protect himself from polices? My brother is UNARMED and still get shot by police," Charles Harris wrote in the statement.

ABC News, WABC-TV and the Associated Press contributed to this report.