Jesus Huerta: A Child Killed in Durham Police Custody

By Lamont Lilly

Another Durham resident has now died in a controversial encounter with the Durham Police Department. This time it was teenager and local Riverside High School student, Jesus Huerta. An official response from Durham police chief, Jose Lopez states that 17 year old, Jesus Huerta died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound while placed under arrest in the back seat of a police squad car. After Durham police officer, Samuel Duncan arrested Huerta, reports state that Officer Duncan heard a loud noise from the vehicle’s rear seat and jumped out of his moving patrol cruiser. Duncan’s squad car then slammed into a parked van, leaving Huerta shot and killed in the process. This incident occurred right outside of the Durham Police Department’s headquarters parking lot.

Jesus Huerta

Personally, I don’t believe one word of what the Durham Police Department has stated. It seems to me, and many others throughout the city, Durham police officers are simply covering their tracks with a concocted story that makes no physical or logical sense whatsoever. Judging from the city’s buzz of conversations, many residents believe Officer Duncan was directly responsible for Huerta’s death. It is also quite disturbing how the first thing Durham police chose to highlight in this controversy was Huerta’s past juvenile offenses. Trespassing and misdemeanor possession of cannabis was not the cause of Jesus Huerta’s death. Such sheer lack of accountability on behalf of the Durham Police Department is not only disrespectful, it’s outright despicable. Entertaining such ploy is merely a distraction from gathering the truth of what actually happened, here. Maybe someone should pull up the Durham Police Department’s criminal record. Fact is, a 17 year old boy who was allegedly handcuffed, mysteriously died in police custody. Many residents are pointing to police brutality and excessive use of force.

Unfortunately, Jesus Huerta became the third Durham resident killed by or in Durham police custody over the last five months. Thirty-three year old, Jose Ocampo was killed July 27th, shot four times in the chest for possessing a knife. Twenty-six year old, Derek Deandre Walker was executed September 17th by a Durham police sniper for publicly threatening to commit suicide.

Personally, I’m not worried about the “Bloods and Crips” in Durham. I’m worried about our local thugs in pressed blue uniforms. I’m worried about gang members who carry badges, tasers, steel batons and handguns, “law enforcers” who are paid with public tax money to terrorize people. Jesus Huerta deserves more than blanket apologies from city officials. Phony condolences are of no use, here. Huerta’s family members deserve justice; local Durham residents deserve the truth. A child has been killed, and we need answers. We need answers and Officer Samuel Duncan arrested. Now!

Lamont Lilly is a contributing editor with the Triangle Free Press, Human Rights Delegate with Witness for Peace and organizer with Workers World Party. He resides in Durham, NC.


durham-police-department-jesus-huerta-copblockDurham Police Department



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  • t

    Lamont. Hmm.

    Anyway…..your journalism skills match Davy V’s. Just so happens I was in school with a Durham PD drug guy this week. You either missed OR intentionally didn’t tell the whole story.

  • steve

    more fodder from the so called cops.only one sided . so the journalism sucks. always with the state.

  • truthspew

    Yeah, I remember when this first went down. The kid was supposedly patted down twice and they didn’t detect a weapon. So where the hell did the weapon come from? Plus he was restrained so that also makes it sort of difficult if not impossible to shoot the kid the way he was shot.

  • steve


  • John Q Public

    DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) — The mom of a teenager who died while in police custody is talking for the first time about what happened early Tuesday morning.

    Seventeen-year-old Jesus Huerta, a Riverside High School student, was found dead in the back of a Durham police car in the department headquarters’ parking lot after the officer driving said he heard a loud noise and jumped out of the vehicle.

    While police have not said how the teen died, a recording of police radio traffic made public Wednesday shows what the officer driving the car told a dispatcher.

    “Shots fired,” the officer says.

    The dispatcher asked if he was hurt and Officer Samuel Duncan said he didn’t believe so.

    Duncan said Huerta had a gunshot wound and was “not breathing.”

    Huerta’s mother said Wednesday she’s dealing with a lot of regret and putting part of the blame on herself. She says she was the one who called the police to come get her son. She says her son was threatening to run away.

    The mother told ABC11 that she would have never called authorities if she knew her son would end up dead.

    She is blaming police, but the Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez says at this point there is no evidence one of his officer’s fired a gun.

    “It does not appear that a Durham police officer fired a weapon during this incident,” Lopez said. “I want to reassure the community that this incident is being thoroughly and completely investigated in an effort to determine exactly what happened. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Huerta family during this difficult time.”

    The boy’s family says they don’t know if the teen had a gun on him, but they do know something went wrong.

    “They’re supposed to help us — for him to be safe,” said Jesus’ sister, Evelin Huerta. “I think that’s what they’re there for to help us not for the next two three hours you know what ‘Your brother’s deceased. Your son is dead.'”

    “You got scared. You jumped out of the car that doesn’t make any sense,” said Jesus’ girlfriend Katya Mendoza. “How do you feel if you lost someone you cared about?”

    The State Bureau of Investigation is reviewing the death.

    Huerta was arrested earlier this year for possession of burglary tools and spent some time in jail in 2012 for possession of marijuana.

    An autopsy is currently under way to determine exactly how Huerta died.

    Duncan is on paid administrative leave while the investigation is underway.

  • t

    Spew: You “remember when this first went down”. It was Tuesday you boob.

  • t

    JQP: Do you notice he differences between the info in the story you post and the info from “Lamont”? Wonder why yours had some important details that he missed. Hmmm.

  • Shawn

    Anyone notice how t doesn’t doubt the cop’s version of events one little bit? We have a handcuffed teen, supposedly searched, in the back. But he ‘manages’ to get out a gun and shoots himself. It doesn’t say where he was shot, or I missed it. Presumably that is where the wound was if they are claiming suicide.

    And ya, the cops will always point to one or two contortionists as ‘proof’ he shot himself. That ignores that most people aren’t that limber.

    “She is blaming police, but the Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez says at this point there is no evidence one of his officer’s fired a gun.

    “It does not appear that a Durham police officer fired a weapon during this incident,” Lopez said. “I want to reassure the community that this incident is being thoroughly and completely investigated in an effort to determine exactly what happened. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Huerta family during this difficult time.””

    I’m totally reassured that the officer in question has his friends investigating this on his behalf. Clearly that will produce an unbiased investigation.
    Anyone who believes that, I’ve got some bottom land to sell them. Just don’t ask me what it is at the bottom of.

  • Shawn


    You’re remembering a different event from at least a year ago.

  • Common Sense

    17 years old is not a “child.”

    So, it seems the “child” smuggled a pistol into the cruiser and shot himself when the arrive at police headquarters.

    Perhaps you could blame the parent(s) for permitting their “child” to have access to a pistol, creating an environment where his behavior was never placed in check, or blame the “child” himself.

    Seems the “child” was unbalanced. “…“One time, he wanted to jump from the window” because “he thinks his mother does not love him,” the caller told the dispatcher….”

    …sorry, perhaps tragic, but not police abuse or a civil rights violation.

  • t

    Shawn: you are missing a lot too. Maybe not as intentionally as “Lamont” is….but you are missing it. You have the excuse of distance….”Lamont” is right there in Durham…so he doesn’t get that pass.

    DPD isn’t the lead investigating agency. So the stupid”his buddies are investigating” thing doesn’t apply and is just that, stupid.

    My point is this:
    I’m not defending the officer….I don’t know him nor was i there. I am however very clearly pointin at the poster, “Lamont” as being intentionally disingenuous and intentionally misleading the simple minded by intentionally leaving out facts.

  • WallStreet

    Def suicide…

    Hands cuffed behind back, shot in the head, with a gun that 2 searches didn’t find on him. Open and shut case. Nothing to see here

    Only good thing about this is that a good number of you pigs will kill yourselves with your own guns – so we have that to look forward to.

    And we WILL laugh, and laugh.

    You sad fuckers – drink like fish, beat your wives, your kids hate you, everybody not on the force hates you, you have no friends but other asshole cops.

    Do the nightmares keep you awake? Do the faces of the dead haunt you?

    Good – because you are pieces of shit – and will die alone and hated, with the metallic taste of a barrel in your mouth, and that last POP will spew your tiny brains all over your shitty little apartments.

    Have a nice day, officer – you are rotting meat, that doesn’t know it’s dead yet.


  • t

    Where are you getting that info?

  • John Q Public

    After reading wallstreet’s crazy rant, I find it funny that people such as CS, t, 31B, and myself are labeled “trolls.” I guess copblockers like the spewing of extremists like wallstreet, Alvin, radicaldude, steve and the like. Its pretty sad actually. To each his own I guess.

  • Shawn

    Trolling is the practice of making comments to cause fights or insult without purpose. Trolling is NOT the expression of an opinion someone else disagreed with.

    Jason free/slappy is what represents trolling.

  • Common Sense

    Its clearly be proven that someone, while hand cuffed behind one’s back, can operate a cell phone or a pistol. Its not that complicated.

  • certain

    Whatever happened to slaps, anyway?

  • John Q Public

    He changed his name to “authority” more than likely. Or, his mom took away his computer.

  • WallStreet

    Oh, JQP and others – did I touch a nerve?

    Do you not like remembering all your brothers in blue that snuffed themselves?

    Don’t like remembering your failed marriages? Your owing child support? Your drinking? Your gal on the side that bangs other cops?

    Tough – you’re douchebags, devoid of humane qualities, and just one finger pull away from wiping your shitty lives out.

    You smirk and laugh at your brothers kicking our asses – you scoff at our pain and misfortune, and you cackle like hens at brutality and mayhem.

    Fuck you, fuck your brothers, fuck your union and your guns and your handcuffs, fuck your pensions, and your badge privileges, fuck your community college thug mentality.

    And mostly – thank you for eventually letting your cowardice show and blasting your miserable brains all over your shitty apartment walls.

    Thanks for killing yourselves, just hurry up – K???

  • t

    Street: ummm, maybe its just me, but I don’t think anybody reacted to you at all. My question still stands…where did yo get you misinformation?

  • Common Sense


    Looks like WS didn’t get enough hugs as a child.

  • John Q Public

    WS, I’m not a cop, which means you wasted your entire rant on me. You have issues that really need to be addressed. Maybe you ought to take your own advice. Or, more than likely, you will lose your gourd and the cops will snuff you.

  • EvilRadicalDude

    Wallstreet reminds me of Keith. Serious anger issues.