Former Aztecs Football Star Fatally Shot

David Lee "Deacon" Turner played for San Diego State in 1976-1977

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    A California deputy shot and killed a former San Diego State and Cincinnati Bengals running back in front of a convenience store after he allegedly hit an officer with a bag holding two cans of beer.

    David Lee "Deacon" Turner, 56, played for the Aztecs in the 1976 and 1977 seasons and for the Bengals from 1978 to 1980. He had long arrest history after his playing career was finished.

    Deputies who were investigating reports of teenagers asking adults to buy alcohol and cigarettes approached Turner on Sunday as he left the convenience store with his 19-year-old son and a 16-year-old juvenile.

    The deputies detained Turner while they investigated. The sheriff's office said Turner initially complied but then decided to leave, and the scuffle occurred when deputies tried to stop the former NFL player. Deputy Aaron Nadal was hit on the back of the head with a bag holding two, 24-ounce cans of beer before Deputy Wesley Kraft drew his handgun and fired twice at Turner, authorities said.

    Friends and family told the The Bakersfield Californian they have trouble believing authorities' account of the story. Nephew Kevin Turner called his uncle "the backbone of our family."

    "He was a marvelous kid," Bakersfield College coach Gerry Collins told the newspaper.

    Turner excelled at shredding defenses at Shafter High School, Bakersfield College and San Diego State before getting drafted by the Bengals in the second round in 1978.

    He had 433 carries for 2,234 yards and 19 touchdowns in his two seasons with the Aztecs. He ranks eighth on the school's all-time rushing yardage list.

    In 1977, he totaled 1,252 rushing yards and 417 receiving yards, a school record for a running back. Marshall Faulk, with 644 receiving yards in 1993, is the only San Diego State running back to have topped it since.

    Turner was used primarily as a kick returner in his three years in the league, amassing 1,149 return yards in 1979 for the last-place Bengals. He had 549 career rushing yards.

    Court records show an arrest history stretching back to 1986. The most recent, on June 17, was for driving while his license was revoked because of a conviction for driving under the influence.

    Sheriff Donny Youngblood said department investigators were getting tapes from video cameras at the store to see if the incident Sunday was recorded. He said he has purposely not researched Turner's criminal background.

    "I want to look at it with an open and objective mind," Youngblood said. "Having a record is a tiny piece of the puzzle, but not a significant piece."

    He declined to comment about the investigation directly. The department issued a release saying Nadal was treated and released at a hospital. Officials have not described the nature of his injury.

    Kraft is on administrative leave while sheriff's detectives investigate the shooting.