DA: No charges in downtown standoff death

Mar. 12, 2014 @ 05:19 PM

No charges will be filed against a Durham police officer in the death of a man during a downtown standoff last fall.
District Attorney Leon Stanback said in a media release Wednesday that after reviewing more than 38 eyewitness interviews, 911 calls, statements by EMS workers and other evidence, no probable cause was found to seek charges in Derek Walker’s death.
In an interview after the announcement, Walker’s mother, Helen Walker Smith, said: “Well, what’s done is done. My son is at peace now. There ain’t nothing harsh I can say about anything.”
Smith said her main focus now is visiting her grandson – Walker’s son – and looking out for his interests.
On Sept. 17, Derek Walker, 26, was waving a gun at CCB Plaza and shouting while pointing a gun at his head and at officers. Earlier that day, he had posted on his Facebook page that he was upset about a custody dispute over his 5-year-old son and that he hoped to die soon.
Durham officers surrounded Walker and asked him repeatedly to drop his gun. After an hourlong standoff, he pointed the gun again at police and Cpl. R.C. Swartz shot Walker in the chest with a rifle. Walker died on the way to Duke University Hospital.
Walker’s death was one of three fatal shootings in 2013 that involved Durham police officers. All were investigated by the SBI.
Stanback decided not to seek charges against police in the July shooting of Jose Ocampo or the November death of Jesus Huerta while in police custody.
After SBI agents received an anonymous tip in the death of 17-year-old Huerta, however, they decided to look into it further. That follow-up report has not been released.
Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez is expected to release results of his department’s inquiry into Walker’s death soon.