Hundreds protest Durham police after teen dies

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Jesus Huerta

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DURHAM, N.C. -- Protesters smashed windows at the Durham Police Department’s headquarters Friday night, angry after a teen died in police custody.

WTVD-TV reported that up to 300 people stormed the perimeter of the Durham Police Department upset about the death of 17-year-old Jesus Huerta.

Durham police took several people into custody after the protest and at least two were arrested, a 19-year-old and a 14-year-old.

Many protesters marched, shouting expletives and demanding justice for the teen. A hammer was apparently thrown through at least one squad car’s window.

Authorities said Huerta died in the back of a police cruiser Tuesday morning after being arrested for trespassing. Huerta’s family members said investigators told them he had been shot in the head.

Durham police have not explained the shooting, but Police Chief Jose Lopez has said the gunshot does not appear to have been fired by a Durham police officer, based on the preliminary investigation.

The protest happened hours after the police chief issued a statement saying he could not explain how the teenager died.

Chief Lopez said state investigators are looking into the case and it could be months before the findings become public.

The results of an autopsy to determine exactly how Huerta was wounded have not yet been released.

The officer who took Huerta into police custody has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation, according to WRAL-TV.

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