(RNN) - A North Carolina mother of three owes her life to her children.
Just after midnight on Aug. 8, Chandra Nierman was being strangled by her boyfriend in front of her three children.
He threatened to slit her throat and kill everyone in the home, according to Rutherford County Sheriff's deputies.
Her 12-year-old son had seen enough so he grabbed a gun. His 15-year-old sister took the gun from him and fired it twice at the boyfriend.
The two bullets struck 46-year-old Steven Kelley in the chest. Deputies said he was dead when they arrived.
One of the bullets fragmented and ended up grazing her 16-year-old sister. She had to be treated at an area hospital, but she was released the next day.
Nierman suffered significant bruising in the assault.
Investigators said Aug. 8 wasn't the first time Kelley attacked Nierman. He also attacked her on Aug. 4, threatened to terrorize her and fired several rounds inside the home.
Nierman, her three children and her Kelley had recently moved from Indiana to North Carolina.
Kelley was a convicted felon who had several guns that he often carried on his person. He had two domestic violence protection orders against him from two women in Indiana and Ohio.
Authorities presented this case to the district attorney's office who declined to prosecute.