Teammates testify on altercation before Durham shooting

CorrespondentApril 24, 2013 

— Teammates of two Pennsylvania high school football players shot in Durham, one of them fatally, took the stand again Wednesday in the trial of the man accused of pulling the trigger.

Witnesses testified that Gabriel James Gamez opened fire on a group of players June 23, 2011, after the Texas man accused the teens of throwing something at him in a parking lot, possibly peanut shells.

Darrell Turner, 18, was killed.

Thomas Woodson, then 15, survived his wounds.

The players from Monroeville, Pa., were passing through Durham on their way to Florida, when police say Gamez of San Antonio, who was in town for a funeral, shot the teens.

Players testified that before Gamez fired at them, he passed them in the parking lot as they were walking back to their hotel eating peanuts from Five Guys Burgers and Fries in the New Hope Commons area of U.S. 15-501 and Mount Moriah Road

“All of a sudden, he became frantic and loud,” Isaiah Thomas Faulk told the jury.

The man accused the group of throwing something at him.

“He said, ‘Which one of you (expletive) threw something at me?” Robert Lee Foster testified Tuesday. “He just kept asking us. ... After awhile, we just started arguing.”

Prosecutors introduced photos of peanuts and peanut shells on the sidewalk into evidence, as well as a cup that Turner was said to have thrown on the ground after the man yelled racial slurs at the group.

Gamez maintains he shot the players in self-defense.

Blood in the parking lot

Photos of the crime scene exhibited Wednesday showed a blood trail across the parking lot, spilled there after Turner and Woodson were shot with a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson Winchester.

Crime scene investigator Lindsey Kincaid also described a crime-scene video taken of the car Gamez was driving that night, a gray Toyota Camry from which investigators seized a fully loaded .40 caliber magazine, holster and handcuffs.

Faulk, Foster and another member of the group, Dustin Shane Creel, testified Tuesday. Six members of the team have traveled from Pennsylvania to be called as witnesses.

Foster said after Gamez pulled out a gun, he started running and was back at the hotel to tell his coach about it before he knew anyone had been shot. He heard the gunshots, he said.

Faulk said that when he saw the gun, he “kinda froze.”

“I felt a hand grab me, which kinda told me to start running,” he testified.

Faulk went back to Turner after seeing he was on the ground.

“I heard a yell,” he said. “It was my buddy, Thomas Woodson. ’Cause he got shot on the leg. But he made it to T.G.I. Friday’s.”

Players described being confused by the man’s accusing the players of throwing something at him. Faulk and Foster both testified that Turner threw down a cup after the confrontation began.

Hartwell: 504-251-6670

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