Friends, family gather to remember Durham man killed in standoff

Friends, family gather to remember Durham man killed in standoff

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Friends and family of Derek Walker gathered Wednesday in the very spot where he was shot and killed in a standoff with Durham Police. Friends and family of Derek Walker gathered Wednesday in the very spot where he was shot and killed in a standoff with Durham Police.
DURHAM, N.C. -

Friends and family of Derek Walker gathered Wednesday in the very spot where he was shot and killed in a standoff with Durham Police.

Walker, 26, died Tuesday after brandishing a gun in downtown Durham at the bull statue. He was shot by police and died at the hospital.

Friends of the man gathered Wednesday for a vigil at the bull statue. His aunt, Delores Williams, said they assembled there in remembrance of him.

Meanwhile, Durham Police identified the officer who shot Walker was Cpl. R.C. Swartz, who joined the force in 2001. Swartz is assigned to the Special Operations Division, police said.

He is on administrative leave with pay, which is standard procedure.

Police officers negotiated with Walker for approximately an hour before officers fired on him.

Williams insists that Police could have avoided killing Walker, saying he wouldn't have take his own life.

"They didn't have to kill him like that," Williams said. "They could have shot him in his leg or arm. They didn't have to kill him.

"He wouldn't have hurt himself."

Just 16 hours before the shooting, Walker posted an update to his Facebook page saying he'd given up and wanted to die. The post, Walker indicated, came after he lost his son in a long custody dispute.

"Don't call me and don't talk to me because I'm not responding," Walker wrote. "I hope I die very soon and a fast death because this world I live in is sorry."

In the post, Walker, who was a mortician at Hanes Funeral Home, painted a bleak picture of a man who had lost custody of his son following a bitter custody battle.

"I can't take [what] my son's mother is putting me through," Walker wrote. "She has filled [my son's] head up with so much false stuff. He has told me I'm a bad father, I'm not a good dad."

He continued, "I'm ready to die because I have no reason to live right now."

Many friends and family members tried to reach out to the 26-year-old after the chilling post, asking him to call them and offering words of encouragement.

But nothing could stop Walker from taking the steps that would lead to the end of his life.

"He was a father who had been dealing with a nasty custody battle within the court system," friend Truitt O'Neal said Tuesday night after learning of Walker's death. "He was extremely and emotionally drained."

A funeral for Walker will be held Monday at 2 p.m. at Fisher Memorial United Holy Church.

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