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Officer who shot Durham man at bull statue still on leave

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DURHAM, N.C. -

A Durham police officer who shot and killed a man during a dramatic standoff in downtown Durham remains on administrative leave, Durham police said Friday.

On Sept. 17, Derek Walker brandished a gun at the bull statue in downtown Durham. Cpl. R.C. Swartz shot him, and Walker, 26, died at the hospital.

Swartz, who joined the force in 2001, is assigned to the Special Operations Division, police said. He was put on administrative leave with pay, which is standard procedure.

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

Walker's aunt, Delores Williams, said after the shooting that police could have avoided killing Walker, saying he wouldn't have taken 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."

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."

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