Ex-NFL Bengal killed by Calif. deputy in scuffle

David Lee "Deacon" Turner, 56, played with the Bengals from 1978 to 1980 and had long arrest history


Associated Press

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A California deputy shot and killed a former running back for the Cincinnati Bengals 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 with the Bengals from 1978 to 1980 and 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 University before getting drafted by the Bengals in the second round in 1978.

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 The most recent, on June 17, was for driving while his license was revoked because of a conviction for driving under the influence.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.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press

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