Man, 81, claims self-defense in fatal Burke Co. shooting

by: Dave Faherty Updated:

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MORGANTON, N.C. —

An 81-year-old man in Burke County is claiming self-defense in an early Tuesday morning shooting at his home.

"I had no choice. It was either me or him. I had to do what I had to do," said James Harrington.

That shooting left one man dead and deputies trying to determine whether the shooting was justified.

"You know what, I hate that it happened and everything," Harrington said.

Harrington talked with us about the shooting after being interviewed by investigators for nearly two hours in Morganton. Deputies said the shooting happened at Harrington's home on Jacobs Lane south of town. Harrington said he bought cigarettes for Ronnie Poole and they both returned to his home.

He said they were playing music and praying, but then Poole became upset about a woman he was dating.

"He came over to my chair and he had a pair of boots on and he kicked me up on my forehead," Harrington said.

Harrington showed us where he said Poole kicked him in the head. He says pool then use all caps started to choke him to the point he nearly passed out.

"He told me he was going to kill me," he said.

Harrington said he was able to break free and reach for his gun.

"I had to protect myself. I would be dead today myself if I hadn't. I didn't have no choice," Harrington said.

Harrington does not face any charges in the case. Deputies said once their investigation is complete they'll forward it to the district attorney and let him decide whether Harrington should be charged.