Local News

Durham judge refuses to lower bond in football player's death

Posted April 3, 2012

— A Texas man accused of killing a Pennsylvania high school football player in Durham last summer will remain in jail while awaiting trial after a judge refused Tuesday to lower his bond.

Gabriel James Gamez, 23, of San Antonio, was visiting Durham on June 23 for a family funeral when, police said, he got in an altercation with members of a football team visiting colleges across the Southeast on a recruiting trip.

Gamez is accused of shooting Darrell Turner Jr., 18, and Thomas Woodson, 15, in a parking lot in the 5300 block of McFarland Drive. Turner died, while Woodson was shot in the leg.

Since then, Gamez has been held in the Durham County jail under a $1 million bond, and Superior Court Judge Elaine Bushfan denied a defense motion Tuesday to cut the bond in half.

Defense attorney Rebecca Wiggins noted that Gamez is an Army veteran and that his family would ensure that he remains out of trouble until his trial.

Gamez' mother offered to move from Texas, get a job in North Carolina and take responsibility for her son if he were released.

"I would guarantee that any type of court dates set forth that he needed to appear (at) that he would indeed be there," she said.

Turner's father said he worries about the public safety if Gabriel Gamez were released from jail.

"I take solace at night knowing that, when I lie down, that this young man is behind bars," Darrell Turner Sr. said, adding that he's thankful his son was the only person killed in the confrontation last June.

Gabriel Gamez in court Mother offers to move to NC if accused killer is released on bond

Assistant Durham County District Attorney Theresa Pressley said Gamez was bragging about his gun in a restaurant earlier that evening and then pulled it on the football players when he encountered them nearby.

Witnesses said Gamez confronted the group and began arguing over peanut shells some of the players were tossing on the ground, Pressley said. The players scattered when they saw the gun, and Gamez fired several shots at the group as they ran, she said.

Wiggins said Gamez and the players were headed in opposite directions when words were exchanged. She suggested that he was defending himself during the shooting, noting that he was up against several football players.

"Here he was standing alone by himself as six to seven larger guys – football players – then turn to him," she said.

Wiggins also said that Turner threw something at him during the confrontation. Pressley said witnesses told investigators that the teen tossed a cup of ice on the ground.

The prosecutor also noted that police found more ammunition, handcuffs and a holster in Gamez' vehicle and that he has faced weapons charges before in Texas.

Gamez is charged with one count murder and five counts each of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.


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  • janier611 Apr 5, 5:38 p.m.

    Since when is it a crime to be large football teenager with a group if you feeled threated because your alone (by choice because was he not eating with family members that saw this moments earlier) walk the other way don't start a fight because you have a gun and want to shoot someone, like Travon i see no cuts or bruises on the shooter other than an excuse to add to his record of excuses, these were boys just walking buy whom he attacked verbally and ultimately death and he should be brought to justice

  • michaelclay Apr 4, 10:14 a.m.

    Jackleg, the young mans dad didn't say anything about peanut shells on the ground, the statement says that witnesses made that statement.

  • piene2 Apr 4, 8:44 a.m.

    "This guy was looking for someone to shoot!

    Get used to it. Now that we are placing guns in the possession of every twisted Yahoo in the nation we will be seeing a lot more of this sort of thing. Peanut shell are as good an excuse as anything else.

  • westernwake1 Apr 3, 7:55 p.m.

    "Also, I keep hearing about peanuts.

    Can someone link me to where that came from? I haven't seen it in the media... and if the dead guy's dad said it, I'd like to hear someone else back it up.

    Peanuts... weird" - jackleg

    In this article, 11th paragraph - "Witnesses said Gamez confronted the group and began arguing over peanut shells some of the players were tossing on the ground, Pressley said."

  • hmmmmm Apr 3, 6:21 p.m.

    Wow, truth9806, Does somebody really deserve to get killed over exchanged words? Teenagers are going to say & do stupid things, because they are STILL kids. It doesn't matter how well they were raised, they are away from home, without parents and with a group of similarly young friends/teammates. If a person has a certain amount of mature life experience behind them, they would be able to understand this. One with said experience would not be so accepting of the behavior & crime that took place here. Justifying a shooting death because they just happened to be football players shows serious lack of maturity as well as emotional & mental health issues which need to be addressed. There is no excuse for firing a weapon into a crowd, or anything other than a paper target at a shooting range, except in the case of imminent death or grave injury. This man was not under the threat of either one, he was a loose cannon, and he is in jail exactly where he belongs! Good job, judge!

  • jackleg Apr 3, 5:36 p.m.

    Also, I keep hearing about peanuts.

    Can someone link me to where that came from? I haven't seen it in the media... and if the dead guy's dad said it, I'd like to hear someone else back it up.

    Peanuts... weird

  • howdiditgettothis Apr 3, 5:03 p.m.

    Maybe his mother ought to have thought about making him accountable before now.

    An innocent life taken all over some angry words. Don't let trigger happy out of the pokey.

  • Rebelyell55 Apr 3, 5:01 p.m.

    This guy was looking for someone to shoot! He definitely does not need to be on the street! Mom needs to take off the blinders, this was cold-blooded murder!

    April 3, 2012 3:52 p.m.

    Nope, not even close, and he'll not get convicted of 1st degree murder in this case, not by any common sense jury anyway.

  • Rebelyell55 Apr 3, 4:59 p.m.

    Now, we got a woman who is part of a terriost plot to kill witness, out on bond, but this guy they're keeping? Better lawyers?

  • masontom56 Apr 3, 4:28 p.m.

    best self defense...don't go looking for trouble