A teenager in Durham, North Carolina police custody died earlier this week from a gunshot wound to the head.
According to the teen’s family, Sylvia Fernandez called the police early Tuesday morning to report that her son, Jesus Huerta, had run away to use drugs. An officer arrived at the Fernandez home approximately 10 minutes later to inform the family that Huerta had been picked up two blocks away from the home.
Because Huerta had an outstanding warrant for second-degree trespassing, the officer told Fernandez that they would have to take him to the police station.
According to police, when the officer transporting Huerta arrived at the station, he heard a loud noise and jumped from the vehicle, which continued to travel until it ran into a van. The officer then inspected the vehicle and, 911 tapes reveal, discovered Huerta with a “gunshot wound” to his head.
At 6 a.m. that same morning, police returned to the Fernandez residence to inform the family of Huerta’s death.
His sister, Evelin Huerta, told WRAL that the police have refused to let the family see the body.
“We don’t have any answers. We want to make sure it’s him because we still have that thought, the possibility that it’s not him, that it was a mistake.”
His brother, Raziel Huerta, also has questions. “We don’t know if he had a gun. We don’t know where the gun came from. Why wasn’t he searched? We don’t know when we are going to get the body. What was the cause of his death?”
The State Bureau of Investigation is now in charge of the case, but refused to comment until after an autopsy definitively identifies the cause of death.
Watch the WRAL report on the incident below.
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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