The Durham Police Department has come to the conclusion that Jesus Huerta was able to commit suicide in the back of an officer’s squad car because the officer missed the gun on the teen during a search, and WRAL thinks this is a bombshell?
We’re clearly dealing with the greatest minds in media.
Some of the other other findings from the report are actually interesting, and go a long way towards fleshing out the story.
- The patrol car was inspected by both Duncan and the officer who drove it during the previous shift, and no gun was found on the backseat, on the floor or under the front seats.
- Durham County 911 dispatchers never relayed information from Huerta’s family to Duncan that the teen had tried to commit suicide previously.
- Duncan pulled Huerta out of the backseat before heading to the police station to readjust the handcuffs because, the officer said, the teen had wiggled his cuffed hands from behind his back down to behind his knees. Duncan also told investigators that he heard Huerta working on the cuffs during the drive to police headquarters and told the teen to stop.
- Text messages found on Huerta’s cellphones referred to guns.
- The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced the .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun found in the back of the patrol car, but there is no record of its ownership since 1991, when it was at a pawnshop in Georgia.
- A camera inside the patrol car didn’t record Huerta’s shooting because it shut off automatically while Duncan was out of the car during the teen’s arrest, and he never logged back into the system to turn it on again.
“All evidence indicates that Mr. Huerta died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Capt. Laura Clayton, director of the police department’s Professional Standards Division, said while going over the findings of the internal investigation.
An autopsy report released late Friday said Huerta was shot in the face, with the bullet going through the right front of his jacket before entering his mouth and exiting out the back of his skull. A toxicology report found no drugs or alcohol in his system.
For those of you who think it is difficult to move your hands around to a position to shoot yourself in the head while handcuffed, you might be surprised how easy it actually is.
Kids, don’t try this at home.
It’s a shame that the Officer Samuel Duncan failed to execute a competent search, and he should probably consider another line of work where his sloppiness won’t lead to life-threatening situations. It remains to be seen what the Durham Police will do with Duncan.
The State Bureau of Investigation and Durham County District Attorney’s Office are also looking into the case.