Turner family gun locks

The Deserae Turner family and Cache County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Muir assemble packets of gun locks and firearm safety info at the Turner residence in Amalga on Tuesday. The packets will be available at the Cache County Fair this week.

Two years after Deserae Turner was shot in the back of the head and left for dead in a canal in Smithfield, the Turner family will be attending the Cache County Fair sharing gun locks and educating people about gun safety.

"I am not a gun person, but I understand them, and that is what we want to to promote: responsible gun ownership and safety," April Turner said Tuesday.

While her daughter's shooting had the most profound impact upon her life, it is not the first time that April's life had been touched by tragedy related to the use of firearms.

When she was four years old, her grandfather — a combat veteran — was fatally shot in a domestic violence incident.

Later, her cousin died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Whether the conversation centers around domestic violence, suicide awareness or criminal conduct, April feels the use of gun locks may prevent some families from experiencing the heartache she has felt in her lifetime.

This is a project April has had on her mind for some time, but it never seemed like the right time, she said.

She recently decided it was time to make this happen, and with the support of Cache County Sheriff's Office Deputy Brandon Muir, they will be passing out 2,300 gun locks at the fair this week.

The locks are provided at no cost by Project Childsafe, a nonprofit organization that works to promote gun safety through its "Own it? Respect it. Secure It" campaign.

Project Childsafe distributes the cable locks through law enforcement agencies, along with information about the safe handling of firearms.

Muir was the lead detective working for the Smithfield City Police Department in 2017 when Deserae was shot and left for dead.

Like the Turner family, Muir said the incident and the investigation that followed have left a very definite before-and-after marker in his life.

It also created an undeniable bond between himself and the Turners, so when April said she wanted to do this, Muir made it happen.

He obtained the locks, he delivered them to the family's home in Amalga and he worked around the kitchen table with the Turners on Tuesday night, placing #DeseraeStrong stickers on each package.

“Things like this help me cope with things like that,” he said.

The gun locks will be available at the Circle B Irrigation booth, at the Berries and Cream booth, and also at Cache County Sheriff's Office booth, while supplies last.


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Amy Macavinta is the crime reporter for The Herald Journal. She can be reached at amacavinta@hjnews.com.

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