Durham prosecutors to review tip in teen's death
Posted January 28, 2014
Durham, N.C. — The Durham County District Attorney's Office is looking into an anonymous tip about the shooting of a teen who died in Durham police custody.
Jesus "Chuy" Huerta, 17, died Nov. 19 shortly after police picked him up on an outstanding trespassing charge. Authorities said he shot himself in the face while sitting in the back of a patrol car with his hands cuffed behind his back.
Huerta's family has repeatedly questioned the official explanation of the teen's death, calling for a federal investigation of potential civil rights violations by the Durham Police Department.
The State Bureau of Investigation looked into Huerta's death and turned its findings over to Durham County District Attorney Leon Stanback, who said there was no probable cause to pursue any criminal charges in the case. The SBI report hasn't been released publicly.
SBI agents met Monday with prosecutors and Huerta's family to discuss a tip the family provided about the shooting.
"We have agreed to look into the material to the extent that it is reasonable and productive and has a probability of relating to a crime," Assistant District Attorney Roger Echols said in a statement.
Alex Charns, an attorney representing the family, declined to comment on the move Tuesday.
The Durham Police Department said an internal investigation determined Officer Samuel Duncan missed a .45-caliber handgun during a frisk of Huerta before putting him in the patrol car. Duncan remains on administrative duty pending the completion of the investigation.