COVINGTON, Ga (WGCL) — Police in Meridian, Miss. released new details Monday in the murder of retired Covington assistant police chief Almond Turner.
According to police, Turner’s family was celebrating a birthday party at an event hall in Meridian when his nephew, 41-year-old Christopher Denson, entered with an AK47-style rifle and fired several rounds, fatally wounding Turner.
A brother of the suspect grabbed Denson, police said, while another family member took the gun away from him. Denson fled the scene and was arrested at his apartment the next day.
“We’re all just heartbroken,” said Newton County Clerk of Superior Court Linda Hays, a long-time family friend of the Turners. “Our sons played ball together, so we’ve been friends for a long time.”
Turner joined the Covington Police Department in the 1970’s, working his way through the ranks. At his retirement party in 2016, colleagues created a video slideshow thanking Turner “for 45 years of kind and generous service to the citizens of Covington.”
Turner also was serving a sixth term as an elected member of the Newton County Board of Education.
Shortly after the murder, Capt. Ken Malcom, a long-time colleague and friend of Turner, got a phone call from Turner’s daughter. He dropped everything and headed to Mississippi. So did Covington’s chief of police and assistant chief.
“We immediately drove over and brought them back home so they could be with their family and their church family,” Malcom said.
Turner is survived by his wife, three children and several grandchildren.
“He was just always happy,” said Hays as she wiped away a tear. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody say a bad word about him.”
Hays and other friends of Turner want him to be remembered as a family man and a peacemaker.
“Doing the kind of work when there’s often conflict, he had the ability to facilitate a peaceful resolution,” said Malcom. “He always could give you sound advice on how to make things better, and that’s just one of a million things that we’re going to miss about that man.”
Police in Mississippi have not yet determined a motive for the murder. Denson, the suspect, has prior convictions on charges of grand larceny and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, police said.
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