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DA: Teenager who stopped attack was taught to shoot by the late father

RALEIGH, N. C. – A teenage girl is pulled on gun training from her late father’s fatal shooting of a violent boyfriend, who was strangling her mother earlier this month in North Carolina, a prosecutor said Friday.

Steven Kelley, 46, was found dead by deputies who responded Aug. 8 a call about a shooting on the house in the North Carolina hills to the west of Charlotte, authorities said. He was twice shot and killed by his girlfriend’s 15-year-old daughter after he attacked the woman and threatened to kill her and her three children in the home they share, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office said.

The children of the deceased father had learned of the girl and her siblings how to shoot and safely handle guns, allowing them to effectively use the single-action Colt .45-caliber revolver, which had to be stretched between the shots, said prosecutor Ted Bell.

“The deceased father had taught the children how to shoot,” Bell said in a telephone interview.

Bell said that the mother had hidden guns around the house for protection when the friend began to act dangerously in the past few weeks. Bell said that he believed that the revolver was one of those firearms, but he said the boyfriend also kept guns in the house.

Bell said that his office has determined that the shooting was justified and that no charges are warranted against the children.

“It is absolutely clear that the mother’s life is in danger, as well as the potential of the children, and so in that situation, we absolutely support the right of someone to defend themselves and others with deadly force,” he said. “I want the 15-year-old for doing a very difficult thing by saving her mother and brothers and sisters’ life and shows an amazing amount of maturity.”

Authorities say Kelley was a convicted felon originally from Indiana with a history of domestic violence allegations. Kelley, the woman and her three children had recently moved to North Carolina, Indiana.

Kelley had previously attacked the woman on Aug. 4 “and fired multiple rounds from a firearm into the home to threaten and terrorize” her, according to a press release by the sheriff and district attorney. He had also threatened her multiple times, and faced with active domestic violence protection orders sought by the two other women in Ohio and Indiana, the release said.

Kelley was strangling the woman and threatening to cut her throat, when the woman and her 12-year-old son pulled out the revolver, according to the press release. Authorities say the boy, 15-year-old sister took the gun from him and fired twice in Kelley’s chest.

The third brother or sister, a 16-year-old girl, was grazed in the leg and treated at a hospital and released. The mother also had “large bruising” of the attack by Kelley, the sheriff’s office said.

The mother did not immediately respond to an e-mail comment on the search Friday, and two telephone numbers in public records were disconnected.

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