DURHAM: Jesus Huerta had stolen property, warrants say - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Warrants: Jesus Huerta had stolen property at time of arrest

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Jesus Huerta died Nov. 19 while in police custody. Police say he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Jesus Huerta died Nov. 19 while in police custody. Police say he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
DURHAM, N.C. -

A teen who died while in police custody had stolen property in his backpack when he was arrested by Durham Police on Nov. 19, according to search warrants released Tuesday.

The warrants show 17-year-old Jesus Huerta had a backpack with items that were "confirmed stolen out of Durham in early November of 2013, prior to the death of Huerta."

Durham Police said the items were believed to be related to a break-in at Haverford Street on Nov. 14, near where Huerta lived.

In a statement from their attorney, the Huerta family questioned why the warrants were released nearly two months after the teen's death.

"If the police believed any of this, wouldn't it give them a good reason to properly search and secure a teen whose family called the police asking for help? Why wasn't this search warrant served on the family?," the statement read.

Police arrested Huerta after officers were called to a home on Washington Street about a run-away. The warrants said a woman had called 911 and said a male wearing a black and red jacket, white T-shirt and jeans had run away from home, had taken drugs and was threatening to kill himself.

Some time later, officers found Huerta, who matched the description of the run-away, and arrested him on an outstanding second-degree trespassing warrant.

In the parking lot of police headquarters, a gun went off and Huerta was shot in the head while in the back seat of the police cruiser.

Durham Police said Huerta died of a self-inflicted gun-shot wound, however Huerta's family has questioned how he had access to a gun while handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser.

Police Chief Jose Lopez has insisted his officers acted appropriately, but the case has been a widely debated one in Durham, where police actions in 2013 are receiving close scrutiny.

The city on Monday said it would release an internal report on the matter after the City Council voted behind closed doors to release the report.

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