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Durham defense attorney: Texas man shot Pa. teen in self-defense

Posted April 30, 2013

— The death of a Pennsylvania teenager shot in the back nearly two years ago was self-defense, the attorney for a Texas man accused in the case told a Durham jury Tuesday morning.

Gabriel James Gamez, 24, of San Antonio, is on trial for murder and five counts each of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill in the June 23, 2011, death of 18-year-old Darrell Turner Jr.

Turner was among a team of all-star football players from the Pittsburgh area traveling to Florida for a recruiting trip and had stopped for the night in Durham.

Gamez testified on his own behalf on Monday, that he drew his .40-caliber Glock handgun and began firing after one of the players gestured as if he were about to draw a handgun Gamez said he saw tucked into the player's waistband. He said he fired his handgun while he was running backwards.

"I thought I was about to be shot," Gamez said, denying that he was trying to hurt anyone.

If convicted of first-degree murder, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Defense attorney Rebecca Wiggins said during closing arguments that Gamez, in town alone for his grandmother's funeral, felt intimidated and scared for his life when the football players approached him.

"Mr. Gamez was standing there all alone with seven to 10 boys facing him, much larger than him," Wiggins said. "He sees one of them pull something that looks like a weapon."

Gabriel James Gamez Closing arguments presented in Texas man's murder trial

A bullet pierced Turner's heart, and he was also wounded in an arm and a leg. Another teammate, Thomas Woodson, was also injured.

But Durham County Assistant District Attorney Josephine Kerr said Gamez was the aggressor and that the teens did nothing wrong. The shooting wasn't in self-defense, she said, because Turner was shot from behind.

"He intentionally pointed his weapon after communicating such horrible words to these children," Kerr said. "That's malice."

A restaurant worker testified Friday that Gamez told her he would shoot any black person who said anything to him or his family. Turner was black.

His teammates testified that they encountered Gamez on their walk back to their hotel from dinner and that he cursed them with a racial epithet.

They started running, they said, when Gamez pulled his shirt up to show a gun in his waistband. Then, they heard gunshots.

"He displayed his weapon like it was some sort of badge of honor," Kerr said. "He approached them, cursed them and called them names, and they couldn’t even repeat those words."


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  • stymieindurham May 1, 2013

    "Gabriel James Gamez aggresively approached the teens, started the confrontation, and displayed a gun."
    Says who? Anyone that was NOT involved in this misunderstanding?

  • westernwake1 Apr 30, 2013

    "I don't care if he was shot in the foot, face, rear or back. If 7 to 10 men are threatening me and I have a weapon. They are in trouble." - oldschoolrules

    So you can aggresively approach a group of teens, curse them out without provocation, display a gun, and shoot them in the back. What universe do you live in? Certainly not in one where there is any justice or common sense.

  • westernwake1 Apr 30, 2013

    Gabriel James Gamez aggresively approached the teens, started the confrontation, and displayed a gun. He shot the kid in the back. His claims of self-defense should be laughed out of court. Gamez needs to be locked up for a long time for murder.

  • whoami Apr 30, 2013

    Being shot in the back is NOT, in itself, proof that someone was withdrawing or retreating. Someone could be turning to pull a weapon from another location, or could be going towards a vehicle or another person offering a weapon.

  • stymieindurham Apr 30, 2013

    " . . . they couldn’t even repeat those words."
    Oh, PLEASE.!!!

  • msmithua93 Apr 30, 2013

    Rich kid cant buy enough lawyers to get outta this huh?

  • Quagmire Apr 30, 2013

    If 7 to 10 men are threatening me and I have a weapon. They are in trouble.

    if you are the instigator then you should go to prison.

  • Quagmire Apr 30, 2013

    That must be how they do it in Texas.

  • Radioactive Ted Apr 30, 2013

    "If 7 to 10 men are threatening me and I have a weapon."

    If they are communicating threats, that is one thing. If their very existence is perceived by you as a threat, I would hope you would be put away if you brandished a gun.

  • llf Apr 30, 2013

    How can a person who has their back to you be any threat? If you choose to shoot someone in the back then you too should go to prison. It does not matter if it a 100 men what right do you have to shoot someone in the back????