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Report details how suspect hid gun, shot Durham officer

Posted March 30
Updated April 20

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— A new report released following a March 21 shooting of a Durham police officer detailed how the suspect was able to enter the Durham County Jail with a gun.

According to the report, Danny Lee McMillen, 44, of Durham, was picked up at about 3 a.m. near his home on Lake Village Drive, about an hour after his estranged wife caught him looking inside her home.

Officer Turner reported that he searched McMillen before taking him to the jail in his patrol car. Turner said after taking the handcuffs off McMillen at the Magistrate's Office, he became "extremely suspicious" of his behavior. He lifted up McMillen's shirt and saw the handle of a small handgun tucked tightly below a second pair of jeans. A metal detector at the jail was out of order.

The two men wrestled for the gun before McMillen was able to fire one shot, which grazed Turner in the abdomen.

According to Turner, at one point during the fight, McMillian said, "You are going to have to kill me." Two officers fired their Tasers, and another detention officer pepper sprayed McMillen in effort to get him handcuffed.

Turner was treated at an area hospital and released. McMillen was not injured.

"We are all human. We all make mistakes here," Durham Mayor Bill Bell said of Turner. "A mistake was done."

Community activist Mark Middleton said the shooting reminds him of the case where 17-year-old Jesus Huerta shot and killed himself in the back of a police cruiser on Nov. 19, 2013. Huerta's arresting officer missed the .45-caliber handgun when he frisked the teen.

"I think it definitely may point to a need for a call questioning and looking at our training procedures and policies," Middleton said.

Durham police said the department took steps to update staff following the Huerta shooting. In a statement a spokeswoman said, "after the Jesus Huerta case, all officers attended mandatory refresher training. The Professional Standards Division is currently investigating to be sure department procedures were followed."

McMillen was charged with misdemeanor secret peeping, assault with a deadly weapon on a government official, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a weapon by a prisoner and discharging a firearm within the city limits.

He was being held in the Durham County jail under a $505,000 bond.

2 Comments

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  • Doug Smallen Mar 31, 8:55 a.m.
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    BLM will say it's all a lie of course.

  • Betsy Smith Mar 30, 4:44 p.m.
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    He lifted up McMillen's shirt and saw the handle of a small handgun tucked tightly below a second pair of jeans. A metal detector at the jail was out of order.

    Wow.