Man Charged In Lenoir County Teen Shooting Death Appears In Court

A man accused of shooting a teen to death during a gun exchange went before a judge Monday morning in Lenoir County.

24-year-old Ezequiel Lopez-Lopez was charged with voluntary manslaughter after a 16-year-old was shot to death Saturday night.

Deputies were called to 739 Clark Drive in Kinston just before 8 p.m. At the scene they found the victim, 16-year-old Derrick Minton, suffering from a gunshot wound to his lower abdomen. Minton later died at Lenoir Memorial Hospital.

After a preliminary investigation deputies believe Minton was visiting the home of Lopez, who is his friend. They say apparently Lopez decided to go inside his home and retrieve a .380 semi-automatic handgun. It was reported that Lopez left the home with the gun and began to give it to Minton who wanted to see it. During that transaction the gun discharged while Lopez was still holding it.

Investigators are still trying to pin down exactly how the firearm discharged and what the circumstances were prior to it firing.

Lopez is now in jail under a $40,000 dollar bond. During his first appearance this morning it was indicated the man would hire his own attorney.

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