No charges in shooting death of teen in squad car

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Jesus Huerta

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) — Durham County District Attorney A. Leon Stanback said Tuesday that he has reviewed a report from the SBI on the shooting death of 17-year-old Jesus Huerta and will not be filing any charges in the case.

Huerta was arrested by Durham police Nov. 19. His family had called to report he had run away. When officers found him, they discovered an outstanding arrest warrant for a second-degree trespassing charge and decided to take him into custody.

Huerta was placed in the back of a squad car and taken to police headquarters. But as the car pulled into the parking lot around 2:30 a.m., the officer driving reported hearing a loud bang and he jumped out of the moving car, which then rolled into parked vehicles.

Huerta was found dead of a gunshot wound in the back of the cruiser. Police have said it was an apparent suicide, but there were immediate questions about how the teen got the gun and how he could shoot himself if his hands were cuffed behind him. Department policy requires prisoners to be searched before they’re transported.

The Durham Police Department released a preliminary internal affairs report last week in which it said it has concluded Huerta had a semi-automatic .45 caliber pistol hidden on his person.

The gun was not found by Officer Samuel Duncan who said he searched the teen after he was handcuffed and before he was placed in the back of the patrol car.

Police said Officer Duncan also searched the car at the beginning of his shift and Huerta was the first prisoner he put there that day.

Investigators also said gunshot residue tests showed Huerta fired a gun and Officer Duncan did not. Witnesses said Huerta had moved his hands from behind his back to a position behind his knees.

Huerta’s family says the Durham Police Department’s internal affairs report “glossed over” statements from Huerta’s friend who was arrested at the same time.

That friend said neither he nor Huerta had a weapon. It also claims officers failed to adequately protect the troubled teen from himself.

Doubt and suspicion over the case have prompted two violent protests. One resulted in damaged police property. The other ended with officers in riot gear spraying tear gas.

A peaceful vigil for Huerta is set for Jan. 19 at Immaculate Conception Church starting at 6:45 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.

Source: WTVD

8 comments

  • WeBuiltThisCountry

    COME ON, you cannot be serious!Negligence is defined as causing harm to someone or something you are responsible for!The justice sytem is designed for the safety of certain individuals and we all know how they are!That’s why me and my sons are best friends!

  • Sydnie

    my co-worker’s step-sister makes $70 an hour on the internet. She has been unemployed for 5 months but last month her pay was $17957 just working on the internet for a few hours. read here………. http://iop.li/8vw

  • Otto

    Well if it was my kid I’d be starting a law suit against the officer and the department. When they take any individual into custody, they are also taking FULL responsibility for that individuals well being. If the gun wasn’t on the kid when he searched him then it was in the car already or he he did a lousy job of searching the kid. Either way he didn’t do his job right.

    • WeBuiltThisCountry

      They are Otto, but know amount of money will bring Jesus back!Regardless of what some people think, we love our kids!My 16 year old son is going through proving himself right now and I understand because that’s my child.Jesus should not have died that night. This is a travisty

  • l337g33k

    These comments are dumbfounding. Should the officer have found the gun on the search? Yes, but mistakes happen and people hide things on theirselves everyday. People in jail are stipped searched routinely, yet drugs and weapons still make it in. It’s winter weather, that means additional clothes, so how hard would it really be to hide a gun? Or it not be felt through layers of clothes?

    Blaming the cop is not the answer. He didn’t kill the boy. The problems which led to this didn’t magically start when Jesus got in the car. Instead of the parents preparing a law suit, how about reflecting on what went wrong that led to this. Everyone wants to blame someone, when really no one accepts responsibility.

  • WeBuiltThisCountry

    Dumdfounding?Really?That’s your opening statement? If you don’t know how to do your job correctly you should quit! You sound like a child making excuses.In my profession i am responsible for people’s live and I take it seriously! Maybe where you flip burgers at there is no code of conduct?

    • l337g33k

      Thanks for so eloquently proving my point. Again, place blame where it rightfully belongs instead of queueing up the handout mentality. While you’re at it, why not blame ( read sue ) his teachers and physicians, or anyone else who had the opportunity to stop this.

      This was solely Jesus’ decision. If someone truly wants to harm theirself or others, you’re not going to stop them. However, you prefer to find a sole scapegoat.

      And on a side note; perhaps if you hold such a prestigious life saving profession, you should be typing with a bit more finesse and overall education. But hey, I’m just a lowly fry cook, what do I know?

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