Vigil held for deaf driver killed in trooper-involved shooting

Service held for deaf driver killed in trooper-involved shooting

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Friends and neighbors gathered Monday evening with the family of a deaf man who was killed last week in a trooper-involved shooting.

Daniel Harris, 29, was shot and killed by a Highway Patrol trooper after he led officers on a chase that began on Interstate 485 and ended in his northeast Charlotte neighborhood.

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The State Bureau of Investigation is conducting a criminal investigation into the fatal shooting.

Family members told the crowd at the vigil that they want answers.

Daniel's brother, Sam Harris, spoke with Channel 9 through an interpreter after the vigil, saying his brother was a family man with a big heart.

"He was effervescent, funny, social, people enjoyed being around him, just a very unique man,” Sam said. “It's a nice feeling that you've got a community like this that supports you. It can be overwhelming in a time of grief like this."

Harris hopes the shooting spurs greater awareness between police and the deaf community.

"The police need to become aware of how to communicate with deaf people, what that might look like and how to avoid situations like this from ever happening again," he said.

Trooper Jermaine Saunders has retained an attorney and the State Bureau of Investigation is waiting to interview him.

Reporter Alexa Ashwell spoke with Daniel's brother, who said the family has a lot of unanswered questions about what led up to the shooting, especially because Harris was deaf.

Investigators described the shooting as an encounter between Saunders and Harris after Harris refused to stop his vehicle and led police on an 8-mile pursuit that ended in a shooting outside his home.

Saunders remains on leave while the SBI investigates.

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