Charlotte, NC — A community and family is mourning the loss of Daniel Kevin Harris, whose life was taken this week by a State Trooper who apparently fears sign language. Harris, who is deaf and mute, was gunned down in front of his house.
According to police, trooper Jermaine Saunders attempted to pull Harris over around 6:14 p.m. on Thursday. For an unknown reason, Harris did not stop and, instead, drove to his home.
During the pursuit, both cars became damaged and eventually came to a stop near Harris’ home.
“I was here in my driveway and I saw the highway patrol car come through and it was smoking really bad,” said neighbor Mark Barringer. “About 10 seconds later, I heard one gunshot.”
According to WCNC, 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.”
According to police, detectives say Saunders and Harris got into “an encounter” before the officer killed him. However, according to neighbors, as soon as Harris got out of his vehicle, Saunders fired.
“While on Seven Oaks Drive, the driver exited his vehicle and an encounter took place between the driver and the trooper causing a shot to be fired,” according to a statement from the State Highway Patrol.