Former Cincinnati Bengals Running Back Shot, Killed By Kern County Deputy

BAKERSFIELD (AP) — A former running back for the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals was shot and killed Sunday in front of a convenience store after he allegedly hit a police officer with a bag holding two cans of beer.

David Lee “Deacon” Turner, 56, was shot and killed by a Kern County deputy.

As a student-athlete, Turner thrived, shredding defenses at Shafter High School, Bakersfield College and San Diego State University. But as an adult, after playing in the NFL from 1978 to 1980, he had trouble finding his place in civilian life.

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 The most recent, on June 17, was for driving while his license was revoked because of a conviction for driving under the influence.

On Sunday, deputies were investigating reports of teenagers asking adults to buy alcohol and cigarettes. The deputies approached Turner as he left the store with his 19-year-old son and a 16-year-old juvenile whom authorities have not identified.

The deputies detained Turner while they investigated. According to reports from the sheriff’s office, Turner initially complied with deputies but then decided to leave.

Deputies said a scuffle occurred when they tried to stop Turner. 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 newspaper they have trouble believing authorities’ account of the story. Coach Collins said, “The deputy must have provoked him.” Nephew Kevin Turner called his uncle “the backbone of our family.”

“He was a marvelous kid,” Bakersfield College coach Gerry Collins told The Bakersfield Californian.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood said department investigators were getting tapes from video cameras at the store to see if the incident was recorded. He said the investigation won’t be quick, and he will review the results. 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.

In 1979, Turner tied for the league lead in kick returns with 55. The same year he was second in rushing yards with 1,149.

“Pound for pound he was as strong as anyone on the time,” former teammate and radio analyst Dave Lapham told

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Marcus

    Sounds like the cops should have been detaining the teenagers who were asking adults to buy for them, not some adult coming out of the store with a couple of beers. But, hey, it’s just some black guy. We can stop him and make him wait around while we don’t tell him why. That’s more fun than trying to round up some kids.

  • Cmon

    While all the facts of the story are not out, don’t take blame away from the victim. It’s tragic he died, but he also showed how you don’t act with law enforcement. If you are detained or stopped illegally, it’s better to try and deal with it in a calm and professional manner. I’ve always come to the conclusion, if you are innocent, you have nothing to worry about even if the cops are a*holes. Now, personally, if all the guy had was a bag of beer when the complete facts do come out, then I think the deputies should have problems. No one that is not armed should die in any situation. Law enforcement is supposed to be taught how to restrain and subdue people in not-lethal situations. But once again, had he not hit the cop, he would still be alive.

  • Stan Smith

    Don’t bring beer cans to a gun fight!

    • CAB

      Good one!!!

  • Eric Slowik

    who said he hit the cop ?
    the cop ?
    thought u said he was inocent till proven guilty ?
    well hes dead now so he cant defend himself wonder if that was planned hmmmm lets look around for an excuse cause im a trigger happy cop that just shot a large black man cause i was askeered and hopped up on the prescription drugs my captain just got for me :D

  • wait...what?

    Last poster stated the facts are not in, yet blames the dead guy. Is it really police policy to shoot someone In the head when threatened with beer cans? Didn’t realize I hadmoved to China….

  • Licensed To Kill

    No one deserves the death penalty for giving a trigger-happy BlackOphobic red-baked-neck ScaredyCop a couple of beers — especially when every big city police departments in California straps their smurfs with Taser Guns…

    Being a San Diego State Aztec myself, who enjoyed watching DT. rush for many a TD for the Red & Black at SDSU, I extend my condolences to his family & teenage son… who no doubt will need years of therapy to overcome the horrific images in his mind of his Hero being “gunned down in Cold Blood” by a person wearing the uniform that kids are taught are there to “serve & protect” them & their familys…

    I hope he gets MILLION$$$ out of the City of Bakersfield.- because you don’t kill a kid’s dad right in front of his eyes, just because you have a hangover from a couple of beers ! ! !…}};?( )

  • HollywoodSaint

    a couple of brewskis shouldnt have resulted in this mans death…hell, they coulda cracked open a couple with the officers and everyone coulda made nice…sounds like rookie gunslingers with a bruised ego

  • Free America

    dont hit a cop with your beer cans and this doesn’t happen. And his son is arrested for threats and gang involvment. No surprise. how about a family of gangsters who dont believe that laws apply to them.

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