‘It’s a Sad Day:’ Father Kills Daughter After Mistaking Her for an Intruder

By Zachary Stieber

A South Carolina father shot his daughter dead as she entered the family’s house, officials said.

Nadeja Jermainequa Pressley, 23, was preparing to enter the family’s house in Greenville around 1:15 a.m. on May 19 when her father shot her through the door, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jimmy Bolt said in a press release obtained by the Greenville News.

Bolt said the Violent Crimes Unit has opened an investigation into the case.

He told Fox Carolina that when deputies arrived Pressley’s father told them he thought she was an intruder trying to break into the house.

After shooting her the father went outside and discovered who it really was.

The county coroner’s office was slated to conduct an autopsy on May 20.

Neighbor Regina Harvey told WYFF that she heard two gunshots around 1 a.m. on Sunday.

“I … went out on the porch and I seen police everywhere, everywhere. That’s just a sad feeling,” she said.

Melvin Grover, a member of St. Luke Holiness Church, which sits near the house, commented on the death as well.

“It’s a sad day today, and it’s a tragic moment that happened in the neighborhood, and we are so heartbroken about it,” he said.

It wasn’t clear whether Pressley’s father, who has not been identified publicly, would face criminal charges in the shooting.

Expert Weighs In

Following the shooting, an expert said that people should take steps before using deadly force.

Jim Braziel is a retired training sergeant and SWAT team leader for the sheriff’s office who currently works as the general manager of Sharpshooters Gun and Club Range.

Braziel said he teaches people during a course the company runs that gun owners should take certain steps before firing on suspected intruders.

“One thing that we do hit heavy on is that you don’t fire a handgun at any sound, shape, movement, whatever … until you have positively identified what that potential target may be,” he told WSPA. “Never pull the trigger on anything you haven’t positively identified.”

The first step is figuring out what the person is doing; someone rattling or knocking on the door doesn’t warrant firing a gun while somebody using a sledgehammer on the door or otherwise trying to break it down might.

The next step would be getting eyes on the person.

“Cut a light on, take a flashlight [and] shine it in their face. That way you know for a fact that that person is not supposed to be there,” Braziel said.

If those two steps are taken, and an intruder is identified, warn them you’re armed and will shoot before calling 911.

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A handgun in its case in a file photo. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Another expert, Robert Smith, said that there has to be a threat to justify shooting someone.

“There has to be an immediate and otherwise unavoidable threat of death or great bodily harm to the innocent,” he told KXLY in 2016.

Smith teaches people about safely using firearms and has served as an expert witness in the trial of a man who shot a man who he said was stealing his truck.

“It’s not just enough to say, ‘I was in fear of my life.’ That’s a common misnomer, it gets BandAid-ed a lot and it won’t take you very far in a court of law,” Smith said. “Everything is always not what it appears. So until we have all the facts, which the police are investigating, it’s difficult to make any judgments.”