Durham teen's death won't result in charges

Jan. 14, 2014 @ 10:25 PM

DURHAM — The district attorney in Durham County says no charges will be filed in the death of a teenager who police say shot himself while handcuffed in the back of a patrol cruiser.

District Attorney Leon Stanback announced Tuesday that a review of a report from the State Bureau of Investigation, the chief medical examiner and other files showed there is not probable cause to charge that a crime occurred in the death of Jesus Huerta.

The 17-year-old Huerta died last Nov. 19 in the back of a squad car as it was approaching the parking lot at police headquarters.

Police say all evidence collected during their investigation indicates Huerta killed himself with a concealed large-caliber pistol that a rookie officer failed to detect when he frisked him.

The Huerta family declined comment on Stanback's decision, but criticized the SBI for not consulting with them about contributing to the investigation and not returning a telephone call regarding its probe.

"We are conducting our own investigation," the family said in a statement issued through attorney Christopher Charns' office. "That is often the case in civil liberties and civil rights matters, particularly involving the police. Years often go by before the truth is uncovered."