SWAIN COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA — The fatal shooting of a respected Swain County educator, in a motel altercation back in October 2022, will not result in criminal charges against the South Carolina resident who pulled the trigger, according to an announcement from District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch.
The shooter, identified as 60-year-old Leo Preuss, acted in self-defense, the investigation determined according to Smoky Mountain News.
The incident took place at the El Camino Motel following a dispute between Preuss, his wife, and the deceased, Lambert Wilson.
The latter reportedly brandished a handgun, leading Preuss to fire his weapon in self-defense.
This information was supported by a 911 call placed by Preuss’s wife just before the shooting, detailing Lambert’s attack on her husband and subsequent threatening actions.
Throughout the investigation, Preuss and his wife were cooperative, providing fingerprints, blood samples, and submitting to personal and vehicle searches, according to Smoky Mountain News.
Both were found clean of narcotics and alcohol. In contrast, Lambert’s toxicology report revealed a blood alcohol content of 0.17.
In response to the DA’s decision, Lambert’s family stated, “Although we will never know exactly what occurred that night, after meeting numerous times with the district attorney and Cherokee Indian Police, we understand why the decision not to charge was reached… We have suffered a tremendous loss that the family and this community will never recover from.”