ABC11 Investigates

I-Team uncovers new info in Durham teen's death

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The family of a Durham teen found dead in the backseat of a police car has issued a scathing letter criticizing the Durham Police Department.

According to the family's attorney, there will be no celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday as they wait for answers.

Sources say 17-year-old Jesus Huerta died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while in police custody.

City leaders have confirmed the weapon was not a Durham officer's gun.

Huerta family's continues to demand answers and issued this statement to the I-Team through attorney M. Alexander Charns:

"Will the city manager designate that the internal affairs investigation report must be released in order to restore public integrity and give a copy to the family as it can do under state law, or will it hide behind the coward's veil of claiming it's a personnel record, and ask us to trust them?"

Following a peaceful vigil that ended with broken windows at police headquarters, Durham city manager spoke publicly and promised answers as soon as the SBI investigation is complete.

"I'm committed every step of the way to be transparent about it with mayor, the city council, with the public," Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield said.

The family said they are still waiting for answers.

"The DPD is filled with loyal, courageous and truth-seeking officers and employees; folks who risk their lives every day for us. Honor them and Jesus Huerta, by focusing on the real issue, the only issue: How did this happen," Charns said

The I-Team uncovered more about the events leading up to Huerta's death. According to court records, the teen left his home after an argument with his mother, and his family called 911 to report him missing.

Huerta was not alone when officers encountered him just a few blocks away from his home. Records show the teen that was with Huerta would be cited for resisting an officer investigating a "runaway call" because he gave a false name.

Durham police said that the other teen was not cited by the officer who took Huerta to police headquarters. That officer later took Huerta to Durham Police Headquarters, and the other teen was not in the patrol car.

Unlike his friend, Huerta was arrested on an outstanding trespassing warrant and brought to Durham Police Headquarters where he later turned up dead in the back of a squad car.

The I-Team reached out to the SBI, and they said they are unable to share details about the ongoing investigation.

See It On TV | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | Send us photos
Follow @abc11 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook

(Copyright ©2014 WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Get more ABC11 Investigates »


Tags:
north carolina news, durham county news, iteam, abc11 investigates, tamara gibbs
blog comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement