COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) - No charges will be filed against the man who accidentally shot and killed a Charlotte teenager in late 2011 in the town of Chadbourn, according to Columbus County District Attorney Jon David.
The announcement came months after the investigation began into the teen's death. The District Attorney's office had been waiting on some additional laboratory testing before making a final decision. A news release from the DA did not elaborate on what the latest testing did or did not show them.
Police say James Blackwell fired a rifle from inside his home on Third Avenue in December 2011 while attempting to clean it. Blackwell told police he thought the rifle was empty. A bullet from the gun hit three people outside the home, including Jasmine Thar, then 16 years old.
A news release states that this was definitively an accidental shooting and that Blackwell did not willfully nor intentionally appear to shoot Thar.
"Furthermore, there is no evidence that Mr. Blackwell's actions were motivated by racial hatred or animosity between the parties. Instead, multiple witnesses reported observing Mr. Blackwell screaming, crying, and showing extreme remorse directly following the shooting. Generally, our criminal law does not punish accidental conduct, even an accident that has a tragic, extreme, and unintended outcome. The law compels us, in this case, to conclude that Mr. Blackwell cannot be criminally charged in connection with this accidental shooting," District Attorney Jon David said in a news release.
David, who has been criticized by the Thar family during this investigation, said he was also making the full investigative file open for the family and its attorneys in a gesture of transparency and accountability.
The Thar family attorney Willie Gary said at the news conference the family is considering a lawsuit against the gun manufacturer Remington.