Fayetteville landlord won't be charged in shooting of tenant's boyfriend

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Fayetteville landlord will not face charges for shooting an intruder.

The shooting happened Thursday evening in the 5000 block of Birch Road. Darrell Ellison had just fed his dogs when his tenant knocked on the door.

"A lady and her boyfriend that rent a trailer that I own in Hope Mills, she said they had a fight and she stopped by here to talk about it," Ellison said.

The boyfriend wasn't far behind.

"I had (the door) locked, and he kicked the lock out," Ellison said. "He came in the house, grabbed a hold of her and started dragging her through the kitchen, knocking all of my stuff over."

Ellison, 74, usually keeps his gun at his side, but this time, it was out of reach.

"I had left my gun in the truck, and I went out to the truck and I got my gun, and I come back in through the back door, and he had her right here -- beating on her," Ellison told ABC11

Ellison said the boyfriend then came after him.

"I had my gun pointed right there and I told him, 'John let me loose, (or) I'm (going to) shoot you, Ellison said.

He paused and added: "Didn't turn me loose. Boom. That's it."

The boyfriend wouldn't stop the attack so Ellison said he fired a single gunshot.

Fayetteville Police said the suspect, now identified as John Morelli somehow made it a half mile to Fire Station 12 on Hope Mills Road. Firefighters called police, who later determined that Ellison was acting in self-defense.

"Like I said, if I hadn't been able to stop him, he would have killed her - and me probably, too," Ellison said.

The blood from the shooting is still visible on Ellison's doorstep. He said this whole ordeal was a nightmare.

"I'm just sad about the whole thing that happened, but if I had to do it over again, I would do the same thing. If someone's life was in danger or mine was in danger, I would do it," Ellison said.

Morelli remains in the hospital. Once released, he will be charged with breaking and entering, and assault, police said.
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.