Durham Officer Suspended After Teen Shoots Self In Squad Car

A Durham police officer has been disciplined after investigators say a handcuffed teenager shot himself in the back of a squad car.

Police Chief Jose Lopez announced Monday that Officer Samuel Duncan had been suspended for a week without pay.

Duncan arrested 17-year-old Jesus Huerta in November on a misdemeanor trespassing charge but failed to discover the .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun the teen was carrying when he frisked him. Investigators say Huerta later used the weapon to shoot himself in the head as they pulled into police headquarters. Duncan had been with the department for 16 months at the time.

Huerta's death while in custody sparked large street protests in the city, resulting in several arrests after police wearing riot gear firing tear gas to disperse the crowd.


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