Police: Teen in custody shot himself
DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez held a press conference Wednesday to address many unanswered questions in the in-custody death of a teenager.
Lopez said that 17-year-old Jesus Huerta died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head while handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser.
"I know that it is hard for people not in law enforcement to understand how someone could be capable of shooting themselves while handcuffed behind the back," Lopez said. "While incidents like this are not common, they unfortunately have happened in other jurisdictions in the past."
The arresting officer with Huerta said he found the teen slumped over in the backseat with a handgun on the floor of the car.
"Whether that wound was accidental or intentional is unknown at this time," Lopez said.
Because of the pending internal state investigations, Lopez declined to comment on who the gun belonged to.
Lopez confirmed that the teenager was searched before he was handcuffed and that they did not find a weapon.
The Huerta family was not satisfied with the press conference and is demanding more details be released.
"The chief's statement is a conclusion exonerating, in part, the DPD, while blaming the one person who can't speak for himself. The chief offers no details to support his claims. We are asked to trust without any way to verify the information," the family said in a statement.
Another teen who was with Huerta when he was taken into custody will be a part of the ongoing investigation, according to Lopez.
north carolina news, durham county news, local/state, tamara gibbs
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