Burke County deadly shooting was in self-defense, DA says

MORGANTON, N.C. — A man was shot in the head and killed early Thursday in Burke County by his girlfriend's mother in what deputies were told was an act of self-defense, deputies said.

On Friday, the district attorney said that the shooting was justified self-defense. No charges will be filed.

Officials with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office said they went to a residence in the Shady Acres Mobile Home Park on U.S. Highway 64 in Morganton around 1:21 a.m. and found 46-year-old Vernon Eugene Dale dead from an apparent gunshot wound to the head.

Authorities said there were three adults, including Dale, and two small children in the home at the time of the shooting.

Sheriff's deputies said Dale was arrested Wednesday for assault by pointing a gun and communicating threats.

A few hours after being released from jail, he showed up at the home where he got into a fight with his girlfriend and her mother.

Investigators said the mother shot Dale once in the head.

Neighbors described hearing just a single shot around 1 a.m.

They told Channel 9 that Dale had recently been evicted from the home after an altercation with a worker at the mobile home park.

"He wasn't even supposed to be here,” neighbor Sharon Freeman said. “We were told he was supposed to be moved out a couple of days ago and I guess he came back.”

"He has just had a new baby and had just gotten evicted and was supposed to be out and I think it got too much for him,” neighbor Michael Chisholm said.

Deputies said the mother of Dale's girlfriend told them that the shooting was an act of self-defense and that she feared for her life.

Deputies told Channel 9 that they seized two 9 mm handguns from the home.

"It's sad that the kids won't see any Christmases with their dad,” Chisholm said.

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