Local News

Durham prosecutors to review tip in teen's death

Posted January 28

Jesus Huerta (Photo courtesy of the Huerta family)

— 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.

25 Comments

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  • lessismore Jan 29, 10:02 a.m.

    This story is being fueled by lawyers who will not let go. They see a big payout coming. Lawyers are probably responsible for the protests....keep it alive....where's the money?

  • Rebelyell55 Jan 29, 9:07 a.m.

    So the tip went to the family, not the LEO? Strange things happen all the time. I guess we'll just have to wait on the "tip" to be diisclosed. With luck maybe it'll lead to the lawyer being arrested.

  • GETOUT Jan 28, 7:53 p.m.

    Actually Jd, the majority of your questions have already been answered through reports and stories already published.

  • Justic4All Jan 28, 7:53 p.m.

    thief committed suicide - Guilty by print, after being judged by his peer.

  • ovenden Jan 28, 7:50 p.m.

    @JDRaleigh, most of those questions HAVE been answered. They were all addressed in the autopsy report.

  • jdraleigh Jan 28, 7:38 p.m.

    It's not hard to believe that the officer missed the gun when he searched. That may be natural, especially if he did not want to do a violent, forceful, intrusive search.

    It is possible that the kid shot himself with the gun held behind his back. Unlikely but not impossible. It is possible that he managed to get his hands in front of him.

    But why are we waiting all these weeks for a complete account? Where were the kid's cuffed hands after the shooting? In front or behind his back? Where did the bullet enter, and where did it exit? Was there powder residue on his hands? Where did the bullet go after exiting his body? How was the body positioned after the shot was fired? Where in the car was blood found? Every one of these questions could have been answered in hours, not days -- so why is it taking months? That in itself makes this thing stink to heaven.

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 28, 6:43 p.m.

    "I haven't seen or even heard that anything has been proven in this case."

    That's because there isn't anything to it the the thief committed suicide. That's it.

  • Justic4All Jan 28, 6:21 p.m.

    I haven't seen or even heard that anything has been proven in this case. I do know a bunch of LEOs from one department defined an opinion and presented their opinion to another bunch of LEOs, who finalized their opinion. All the aforementioned LEOs then presented their opinions to the Supreme DA LEO of Durham who turned the opinions of both LEO's into the official opinion of Durham and DPD.

  • GETOUT Jan 28, 5:43 p.m.

    Lawyer and family just want a big payday. Lawyer and family are just throwing things at the wall to see what sticks and the media is eating everything up and stirring the pot. Lawyer said he would only reveal this "new evidence" if the state and da's office didn't do anything with it. Regardless of what they make up thane facts of this case aren't changing. I say just go for the money you want and quit wasting our time. They will riot again February 19.... More taxpayer money....

  • westernwake1 Jan 28, 5:13 p.m.

    Oh ... so now it is an "anonymous tip" by a non-available tipster. The circus continues. Enough already. Bottom line: The kid committed suicide and was also a burglar.

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