Records show strain between slain Durham man, mother of his son

Records show strain between slain Durham man, mother of his son

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Derek 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. Derek 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.
DURHAM, N.C. -

The woman who had a relationship with a Durham man who died in a police shootout Tuesday called him "a great father" and said she was shocked by the dramatic turn of events.

Derek 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.

"He will truly, truly be missed by us," Latasha Alston said Wednesday. "He was my son's heart. I'm sorry it happened like this."

Just 16 hours prior to the standoff, Walker posted a chilling update to his Facebook profile expressing his desire to end his life after he said he lost his son in a custody battle.

"I've been going through this battle for five long years, and I'm tired and I've finally given up," Walker wrote. "I quit."

But Alston said she was never in a custody battle with Walker over their son and said they had joint custody since 2007. Documents obtained by WNCN paint a different picture of their relationship.

Court documents show the two had been in a custody battle for years.

The documents show they had joint custody of their son. The records also show Alston asked the court to change that and wanted to take away Walker's weekday custody because school had started.

She asked the court to waive mediation, because, documents say, she said, "We don't agree on anything."

Documents obtained by WNCN show a long and contentious relationship between the two dating back to early 2008, when the child was only a few months old. In an early mediation, the mother and father set out how time with the child will be shared, and they agree to speak one at a time, refrain from name calling and not bring up the past.

The documents, which are nearly half an inch thick, also show:

  • A document from Jan. 10, 2008, shows a  judge entered a Domestic Violence Protective Order against Walker after "an incident of domestic violence" on Dec. 30, 2007
  • A document from May 26, 2009, reported Alston was supposed to drop off the son at a certain place but did not do so
  • A document from July 30, 2009, said Alston didn't drop him off twice in July
  • On Aug. 13, 2009, a judge fined Alston $50 and found her "in willful contempt of court."
  • In a document on March 12, 2010, Walker alleged the son got out of the Alston's house alone and was found by police. Walker claimed the son was "burned under her care" and he said he was concerned the son was not being supervised.
  • In a document from Nov. 5, 2010, Walker claimed Alston failed to bring child to be with her father on Oct. 29, 2010.
  • On July 19, 2012, the parents were ordered to attend parenting class.
  • On Jan. 24, 2012, Alston raised concerns about Walker helping with son's day care schedule
  • On May 16, 2013, both parents were required to attend parenting class
  • And in a document from Sept. 13, 2013, Alston  said "Derek Walker has been acting out" at the elementary school and he "act out in front of our child during a transaction Thursday, Sept. 4, 2013, which got my son very upset.

WNCN reporter Justin Quesinberry spoke with Alston on Wednesday by phone. She wanted the station to know that in her view, there was no animosity between the two.

"No, we were cool," she said. "That's why I am shocked. We were fine."

At 12 a.m. on Tuesday, Walker wrote on his Facebook page, "Don't call me and don't talk to me because I'm not responding. 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."

Asked what set Walked off, Alston said, "I don't know. What can I say? I'm shocked. I don't know."

She said she wanted her son to know his father, and said that every time the son spent time with Walker "he came home smiling."

She said she last spoke to Walker on Sunday, and they had a "very short conversation."

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

WNCN's Sean Maroney contributed to this report.

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Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

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