CHARLOTTE, N.C. --
An off-duty Charlotte firefighter fatally shot a suspected thief, but he will not be charged.
Police said Israel Harthorne caught two men taking a trailer out of the driveway of his west Charlotte home last night.
Harthorne, who has been employed by CFD for the past seven years, called 911 and then began to chase the suspects from his neighborhood.
Police said Harthorne positioned himself between his car and the truck that James Lambert was driving in an attempt to detain Lambert until police arrived. Police said evidence they gathered indicated that Lambert accelerated the truck in Harthornes direction, presenting a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily harm.
Harthorne then fired at the truck. One of the bullets struck Lambert in the head, killing him.
Lambert's sister told Eyewitness News that her brother may have had a criminal past, but said Harthorne should not have pulled out a gun.
"That would be a terrible thing to deal with, the rest of your life, knowing that you took somebody else's life," said Beverly Evans.
Harthorne will not be charged in the case, police said on Tuesday. After reviewing the case with the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office, detectives determined that Harthornes actions didnt rise to the level of criminal conduct, police said.
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