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Friend: Man killed in Durham standoff lost son in custody dispute

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Derek Walker had recently lost custody of his son, a close friend of the family said. Derek Walker had recently lost custody of his son, a close friend of the family said.
Durham Police say a man was standing with a gun near the Bronze Bull statue in downtown Durham. (Justin Quesinberry, WNCN) Durham Police say a man was standing with a gun near the Bronze Bull statue in downtown Durham. (Justin Quesinberry, WNCN)
Durham Police say a man was standing with a gun near the Bronze Bull statue in downtown Durham. (Justin Quesinberry, WNCN) Durham Police say a man was standing with a gun near the Bronze Bull statue in downtown Durham. (Justin Quesinberry, WNCN)
DURHAM, N.C. -

A man shot and killed by Durham Police Tuesday had recently lost custody of his son, a close friend of the family said.

Officers were called to the area of the Bronze Bull statue on Corcoran Street in downtown Durham Monday after an apparently distraught man brandished a gun around 4:19 p.m.

Durham Police negotiated with the man for about an hour when he pointed the gun at officers, which prompted an officer to fire at him.

The man, who was identified by a family friend as 26-year-old Derek Walker, died shortly after being transported to an area hospital.

Just a day prior, Walker had taken to his Facebook page saying, "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."

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."

As required by standard procedure, the officer who shot Walker was placed on administrative leave with pay while the State Bureau of Investigation investigates the incident.

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

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