Retired Assistant Police Chief Murdered During Family Gathering
Meridian, MS – A former Georgia assistant police chief who retired after 45 years as a law enforcement officer was murdered by his nephew on Saturday night, according to police.
Former Covington Assistant Police Chief Almond Turner, 69, was attending a family gathering and the 1st and 10 Gaming Lounge when his nephew, 41-year-old Christopher Denson, suddenly left the building and went out to his vehicle at approximately 8 p.m., WTOK reported.
When Denson returned, he was carrying an AK-47 rifle, police said.
He opened fire, fatally striking his uncle, before someone grabbed him and took the gun away.
Investigators said they do not know if Turner was specifically targeted during the attack, WXIA reported.
Denson fled the scene, but was apprehended at the Meridian Estates apartment complex at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, WTOK reported.
He has been charged with murder, and was booked into jail on a $1 million bond.
Assistant Chief Turner retired from the force in 2016, according to WXIA.
“It is with a heavy broken heart that we announce the death of one of the greatest men who ever wore this uniform. Rest in peace Chief Almond Turner,” the Covington Police Department said in a Facebook post on Sunday. “Please keep the Turner family in your prayers along with the men and women who served with him. We are all devastated.”
Covington Police Captain Ken Malcom said that it was Turner who agreed to give him a chance to become a law enforcement officer many years ago, WXIA reported.
"I was a 19-year-old kid who knew nothing about law enforcement, and he was my mentor and he taught me so much about not only the job, but how to be a good person and treat people," Capt. Malcom told the news outlet.
The retired chief’s family immediately contacted Capt. Malcom in the wake of the murder, and he dropped everything to drive to Mississippi to bring them home to Georgia.
“Not only did we lose a very, very good man – we lost history when someone took his life,” Capt. Malcom told WXIA.
Turner had also been a member of the Newton County School Board since 1996, WSB reported.
Newton County School System Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey said that the community is “stunned, devastated and heartbroken” by the former police chief’s death.
"Mr. Turner was a life-long supporter of our community and its school system,” Fuhrey said in a press release. “He always wanted and fought for what was best for our students and employees and we looked forward to him continuing to serve on our school board into the foreseeable future.
“Mr. Turner was my friend and mentor—someone who helped guide me as I began the journey as superintendent of this school system,” she added. “I will never forget his advice, his kind words of encouragement, and most of all his friendship. There will never be another Almond Turner. He was truly one of a kind."
Turner also served as a church deacon, WXIA reported.
“It’s not fair,” Springfield Baptist Church Pastor Eric Lee said of his longtime friend’s murder. “"For more than 45 years in law enforcement to die of gun violence at a family gathering…To go from getting guns off the street and advocating to end family violence to being a victim of family violence is a bit much to stomach.”
Turner leaves behind his wife, Anita, his children, Shundra, Shaye and Dwahn, and several grandchildren, according to the school district’s press release.