The 31-year-old woman and her son were at their home in Burlington, northwest of Raleigh, when she was woken up by the sound of someone breaking in through the kitchen window at around 3:55 a.m., according to investigators.
The woman, armed with a pistol, confronted the suspect who opened fire with what police said was a semi-automatic pistol.
The unidentified woman was able to scare off the would-be robber who eventually retreated back through the window. She was not hurt and police said she would not be charged.
It was not clear if the suspect, who was described as a black man in his early-to-mid-twenties, sustained any injuries.
Burlington Police were still looking for the intruder who ran off. He was last seen wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, investigators said.