Kentucky: Armed Homeowner Shoots Police Officer, NO Charges Filed

Opinion

David Turley and Officer Morris

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- On October 10th, 2018, at about 5:30 a.m. at 522 Hathaway, in Owensboro, Kentucky, a young police officer was involved in a shootout with an armed homeowner.  The officer had been chasing a suspect, and was searching a fenced in area.

The homeowner, David Turley, saw the suspicious activity in his backyard, and approached Zachary Morris, 23, the officer. Turley was holding a pistol at his side. Officer Morris shot at Turley, who returned fire as he took cover. Morris was hit, just below his bullet-resistant vest. From wave3.com:

“I heard some commotion over there by the fence,” said Turley. “I saw someone standing there with a flashlight on the ground, so I walked over to see what was going on. As I got closer, POW POW! And when he did, I had my weapon by my side and I just pulled up and fired and I started toward the ground to take cover.”

Turley told Katie Kapusta that he was shot at twice and returned fire four times. He had no idea anyone had been hit until more police units arrived.

“Once they shot two times at my face, I had no choice. I was in fear of my life, and I returned fire.”

Fortunately, Turley was not hit. The fact that Turley is not facing any charges in the case shows the culture in the United States is re-normalizing the role of armed citizens as legitimate.

Armed citizens defending themselves and their homes was common and accepted in the 1930's and before. In “Rise of the Anti-Media: In-Forming America's Concealed Weapon Carry Movement“, Dr. Brian Anse Patrick relates numerous newspaper reports of homeowners using firearms for defense in articles of the time.

It was during the mid-1960's, with the rise of the civil rights movement, that the media coalesced in demonizing citizen ownership of firearms for self-defense.

President Lyndon Banes Johnson was able to marshal support for federal legislation attempting to limit access to handguns for self-defense.  The media pushed very hard for the legislation, resulting in the compromise Gun Control Act of 1968. The legislation was enacted on the heels of the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.

With the movement to shall issue concealed carry permits in the late 1980s to the present, self-defense with firearms has been re-legitimized.

Ordinary people who shoot police in legitimate self-defense now have a chance of their actions being recognized as lawful. The initial reporting by the police did not mention that officer Morris fired first. It was implied that Morris was attacked. From owensborotimes.com:

Officer Morris lost sight of the fleeing suspect behind some houses in the 500 block of Hathaway Street. As the officer was checking a fenced-in area at 522 Hathaway, the homeowner of the residence shot at Officer Morris striking him.

Officer Morris was wearing a ballistic vest but was struck in the lower abdominal area. He is at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital recovering from emergency surgery and is in good condition.

The Kentucky State Police Critical Incident Response Team is investigating the incident. This shows good judgment, as an independent agency is investigating the shooting, not Officer Morris' own department.

No charges have been brought at this time. David Turley was questioned by police and released.

There have been several incidents over the last few years where innocent people have fired at police officers. Officers have been wounded and killed. Some of the armed defenders have been found not guilty, others were never charged.

Respect and support for the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms is increasing in the United States.  All but eight states now have either shall issue laws for the carry of handguns, or Constitutional carry, where permits are not necessary to carry handguns for self-defense.

Armed citizens and police are natural allies. Mutual respect and mutual support results in low crime rates and peaceful neighborhoods.

Communication is key. A call to 911 about a prowler in the area might have prevented the confrontation that resulted in Officer Morris' wounding. Clear identification by Officer Morris as David Turley approached might have prevented the exchange of fire.


Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 71 thoughts on “Kentucky: Armed Homeowner Shoots Police Officer, NO Charges Filed

    1. Troy Williams: I was a cop, in the ghetto, my entire career so don’t give me that “real world crap”. If you’re not a racist you sure qualify for bigot of the week.

    2. Troy Williams: And yes we know it’s not your real name. Of all the comments; stupid, illogical, racist and moronic I have to hand it to you, you’ve managed to beat them all and take the prize for the Ammoland lowlife of the day award. Congrats, sort of, please don’t come back.

      1. He would be dead already if he were black, and the guy wasn’t charged because he wasn’t black simple as that, it’s sad to say but that’s how it is and we all know it.

        1. That opinion is your right to have but I call bullshit on it. The rules are the same. If a black guy or Chinese guy or whatever, was the resident of that property, the same rules apply. Attitude and explanation goes a long way.

    3. The founding fathers envisioned a trigger happy police state and attempted to prevent it with the second amendment. The authoritarian MO today seems to be to shot first and cover up the facts later. And it’s got nothing to do with race, they’re just the canary’s in the coal mine. We’re all under the gun today.The state hires too many ex-military and screens them for aggressiveness, but perhaps not for ptsd.

      1. Military veterans going into law enforcement has actually decreased over the last twenty years. It’s running below 17% for all law enforcement agencies.

    4. More evidence that cop costumes need to be readily identifiable in the dark from 100 yards. Maybe hot pink with flashing lights instead of black/dark blue. The safety of citizens is more important than the safety of cops.

    5. This is all crap, and attempts to legitimize stupid decisions. The police officer was doing his job. There was NO reason for Turley to be prowling what is indeed HIS property with a loaded gun. Yes I am being serious about that. You want to die? Do what Turley did.

      1. You have to be on some strong meds.They are working on that so dumbasses like you don’t over doze. That is the mans property,he can prowl on that MF ,he can dance on,Hell he can take a shit right in the fucking backyard if he wants.People like you is what is all wrong with the country today.If you don’t like the freedoms that are here,don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out,wait a minute,Hell the door needs slam on your dumbass

      2. I’m amazed at the idiots who materialize from the woodwork on this one. Guess he should have been “prowling” his property with an unloaded gun! Not sure how you “prowl” your own property. Let’s look at the definition of a prowler: “a person who moves stealthily around or loiters near a place with a view to committing a crime, especially burglary.”.

        Okay Eric, want to send back those Liberal talking points and tell the Brady Bunch or who ever sent them that, as usual, they don’t work with people who have common sense?

        1. you’re so wrong and yes that is my real name, I have no reason to hide my identity like you do, am hardly racist, was married to a white woman and had a child with her, and am now dating another one, and its a free country so I can comment all day long just to piss you off, lol, but we both know the truth, if that guy was black the cops would have found a reason to shoot or arrest him, maybe that doesn’t happen in your privileged world but it happens all the time in the real world, maybe you should try living in it sometime.

          1. @Troy Williams, Your very first words are conclusory and without the support of what ever logic that you used to get there.
            Only those that would steal your identity care what your real name is, but keep on using it … please!
            The rest of your blather is a waste of typing and unworthy of response.

          2. Troy, I just wanted to thank you for providing a job in the future for a correctional officer. Keep on keeping it real, Brother!

      3. @EG, It was not the police officer’s job to shoot at someone that was not presenting a deadly threat to him. Police can not shoot anyone just because they are holding a gun. The law of self defense is the same for police officers as for everyone else.
        The home owner has a legal and Constitutional Civil Right to prowl every inch of his own property, day or night, fair weather or fowl, or any reason or no reason.
        As to your last two sentences, Turley was not the one that died. Your last should read: Want to die? Shoot at people unreasonably and without provocation. And yes, eleven hundred years of Anglo-Saxon based law is serious about that.

      4. No cop should ever be on privet property under ANY conditions without a warrant or the written permission of the owner. The Home owner should have exercised his G_D ordained right to defend his possession with an AK47 , and killed the unknown who shot first. The “Officer” was dead wrong. He deserved to get shot.

        1. Ray,you’re an asshole. Just another pussy talking shit.Cocksmokers sayin cops deserved to get shot and killed, need to get their head caved in.So go suck a bag of dog dicksyou asshole.

    6. @William Herron: You shoot at me I will drop you where you stand. I’m a retired LEO and this homeowner did nothing wrong. You flat out don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Did you bother to read the story? The officer did not identify himself, was on private property and fired first. He couldn’t have been more wrong if he’d tried. And you want “some type of charge” against the homeowner? I’ll just take a wild guess and venture that your philosophy is “I believe in the Second Amendment BUT…”.

    7. From the information presented it was a stroke of bad luck that it turned out the way it did , But with what little information in hand , Officer Morris made a huge mistake of discharging his weapon before Identifying himself as a Law Enforcement Officer , Police Officer !! Don`t Shoot , David Turley would have said OK ,How can I help ??

    8. Their should be some type of penalty for The homeowner for discharging a firearm at a police officer maybe the officer was wrong In his actions but the homeowner was wrong in his actions our yards are not the same as the house , in the house he has the right to protect his property against unlawful conduct But a Police officer in your backyard does not require a armed response even if someone is trespassing shooting them seem a little extream

      1. @William “Bird Brain” Heron, That is the poorest analysis, and most foolish conclusion that I have ever read! The two pivotal facts are: “… Turley was holding a pistol at his side. Officer Morris shot at Turley, who returned fire as he took cover.” Homeowner Turley was not protecting his yard. Turley was not defending his home. Turley was defending his own life and person.
        Ones person and life go where ever the live person goes. Defense of that life and person must necessarily go where the live person goes. Otherwise the very concept of defense of one’s life would have no meaning.

      2. Shots fired AT you and you defend yourself.. This is not a castle doctrine event. It isn’t shooting at a trespasser, it is shooting at someone who shot at you.
        Shouting “POLICE” or “Who goes there?” is a good idea. A good idea before going out to search your back or front yard would be to call 911 and find out if a manhunt is going on. This will let you know if the noises you heard were burglars or police looking for burglars. It also lets the officers know that a home owner may be outside investigating. It isn’t bravery, cowardliness or but caution and planning.

        1. Jim: Your, “Who goes there?” would have been complete if you had also added, “Identify yourself!”. In any case, you took me back to a small part of training at Fort Ord in the summer of 1973. Thanks for the memory. I had a great time at Basic.

    9. We weren’t there, so we shouldn’t criticize anyhone. Sounds like there was confusion, lack of communication and a sad result.

    10. Moral of the story if you’re a cop, let the dirtbag go so he is free to break in, rape, rob, and kill with impunity. Otherwise Mr. Turdley will fire at whatever is in his yard without identifying it like a moron. He needs to be charged.

      1. Your dead wrong if that is what you truly believe. At night and a cop goes in your back yard, not only does not identify himself, but actually shoots at the home owner….. Wow, so you think the homeowner should be charged? Your insane. FYI, I’m a retired cop and I think Officer Morris was completely in the wrong. (if the article is correct). There is no intent by the homeowner to commit a crime. So he can’t be charged. And thank god.

      2. MR. TURLEY (THE HOME OWNER ) WAS FIRED UPON FIRST , AND RETURNED FIRE JIMMY AND THE PERSON FIRING FIRST DID NOT SAY THERE POLICE BEFORE THEY FIRED FIRST . YES ITS SAD .. THE COP ENGINEERED HIS OWN BAD LUCK. THANKFULLY HE WILL SURVIVE.

      3. Can not agree with you on this. the officer was in pursuit of a perp but was trespassing in doing his job. He should have properly identified the man approaching him before firing like an untrained idiot and he should have identified himself as a police officer before firing his weapon……like an untrained idiot. Part of the risk will always be that of the property owner advancing on whoever is trespassing on their property. Wake up and get smart.

      4. He was fired upon by someone he couldn’t identify. Anyone would have fired back. Don’t be an asshole, that is if you can stop yourself!

    11. We have the right in most states according to the Castle Doctrine/Stand your Ground Law. In this case NOT ALL THE INFO is presented. Basically, according to what I read here, the officer should have radioed his position and that he was on foot, to the Communication Center, which would have relayed it to 911 operator. This would have been passed on to the pro-active citizen protecting his property who called in. The first mistake belongs to the officer!! A LOUD identification by the officer is critical, “POLICE FREEZE.” The Officer then shines the flashlight on subject to make a positive ID. If the subject does not raise his weapon, there is NO reason to shoot at someone, especially blindly as he did. If the officer did kill the homeowner, the officer would be facing manslaughter/murder charges!!! We call it a “bad shoot”. If no one is shooting at you, then nobody should be shooting at anyone or anything until clear identification can be made, especially if you miss your target and kill someone else across the street or in a car driving by. I imagine there is going to be a clear investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation in this case. I’m just glad no one was killed.

    12. This whole mess could have been avoided if the homeowner had stayed inside his home and called 911. Since this is a small town, the 911 operator may have personally dispatched the officer to the call, and could have informed the homeowner that there was a police officer searching for a suspect in his neighborhood. The homeowner could then have acted accordingly.
      This has nothing to do with property rights, bravery, or cowardice, it has to do with good sense.

      1. Woulda coulda shoulda, it’s all second guessing and conjecture and that’s a bad thing to do since you weren’t there. What we do know for certain are two things: 1. You are responsible for your own well being, not the police, and 2. The courts have ruled that the police have no obligation to protect the individual.

        1. Woulda, coulda, shoulda obviously does not go hand in hand with turning back the clock. Its purpose is for people to learn to use better sense in the future! The guy should have stayed in his house and called 911, rather than going out to get himself involved in a situation that was not threatening him, or evidently anyone else, at the time. Yes, that is a lesson for others to learn from.

          1. That’s his property,anyone except a democrat would think your way.Maybe you would wait till someone busted in first.Your property nobody else needs to be unless their up to no good period

          2. “On his property…” gives him every right and, as I pointed out and you obviously missed or didn’t care about, the police are under no obligation to protect you. You have every RIGHT to investigate and NO obligation to cower. Your assertion that it was a threat to no one else is without basis or fact, you weren’t there.

      2. Doesn’t matter if dispatch tells the home owner or not about a police chase. If dispatch says there is a police pursuit in the neighborhood, that means there is a criminal also in the neighborhood. Police are authorized to pursue criminals suspects, not wonder onto a homeowners property and shoot at the homeowner…. geez people.

    13. and if Mr. Turley, had been killed/maimed Polizei Obergruppenamt would have expressed “thoughts and prayers” and told the Peons to shut up and stay inside when they see criminal activity in their yards.

    14. Sad story. Incomplete story as well.

      Did the single hit stop the Officer?
      How bad was the beating the home owner received?
      Will the home owner get his guns back? Because I guarantee they all were confiscated.

      1. Hmm, did know that filter that stops the crap from your brain from coming out your mouth needs replacing? Try dealing in facts, not speculation or bias.

    15. Not many “bad guys” trying to escape detection will have a flashlight. Many police officers will have a flight and many homeowners searching for a “noise” will also have a flashlight.
      Officers need to understand that they are “a prowler” until they have identified themselves.
      Homeowners should probably dial 911 before going out to search. If there is a police pursuit in the neighborhood or at their address the 911 operator can tell the homeowner. The homeowner would be wise to stay inside if there is a police search going on. The officer will be on edge, no good reason to risk injury both ways.

      1. Sorry for the officer,but if I was the homeowner and saw someone in my back yard,you damn skippy I would go see what is going on. I would not coward inside. The officer should have shouted who he was.As far as the home owner getting beat up where did that come from,didn’t read that.

        1. I completely agree with you Douglas. Based on this article, the officer made the big mistakes here. Don’t blame the homeowner for protecting himself. Remember, the officer shot 2 times at the homeowner first.

      2. Ever read of an ossifer seeing an “unidentified person” INSIDE a home on a prowler/suspicious activity call, and go bashing his way into the home anyway?

        How’s about the copper SAY something? Is that not what is expected?

        Guess the prowler got clean away with the “interruption”, eh? Oh well. Hell show up again. Maybe in a different area, but he’ll move again.

        And yes, the officer DOES need to get more range time, AND better identify himself AND his target before the squeeze. At least he didn’t call for backup AND an armed home invasion. Big city, the neighbourhood would have become a martial law war zone before the sun came up. Sort of like what happened in Boston area when the Tsarnaev brother was on the loose. How many hundred rounds were fired into that vintage boat in the guy’s backyard?

        Also this:
        “Gun Control Act of 1968. The legislation was enacted on the heels of the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.”

        Add Bobby’s big brother Jack, all three assassinations quite obviously arranged, our own government being heavily implicated in all three. Seems da gummit were the most dangerous entity in those days Still are. They tried using those operations to disarm us, and would still, but the tide is turning. Armed citizens are, in many ways, now acceptable once more.

        Folks are finally realising that that pesky Second Article of Ammendment places the responsibility for “the security of a free state (society)” squarely in the hands of THE PEOPLE.

      3. How many bad guys have you ever seen? As a former cop, I saw lots of bad guys with a flashlight. You think burglary’s are done with blindfolds? No, they need light too.

        1. Bad guy is not likely running away or hiding with a flashlight turned ON. He/she may have a light to use when breaking a lock or finding jewelry in a drawer but not while escaping.
          Same thing applies to cops or home owners, light discipline to illuminate a possible target or search a dark corner. But the light lets the “enemy” see you coming.

          1. Again your not right. Bad guys in the dark with flashlights who are scared and running need to see where they are going too… Yes quite often the bad guy is illuminating the path in front of him or her. Stop watching TV and movies and think you know….

      4. I’m not Going to call 911 before I go in my backyard. Maybe a guy was taking his dog for a nighttime walk and it got away from him. Why would I call the cops when a simple going out there and engaging with him would be fine. I’ll be armed in case it isn’t innocent, but most things are innocent and I’m not going to call the cops until I have good reason to.

    16. Hard to know the WHOLE story from this article. Glad he wasn’t charged but from the cop’s end, it could have been just a very unfortunate situation. All lives matter except real criminals.

    17. The LEO violated one of the four cardinal rules of gun safety, ” know what’s your target”. He fired at someone not knowing who that person was and without identifying himself; it’s all on him and his poor judgement IMO.

      1. This guy nailed it right on the head. NO ONE, ESPECIALLY LEO’S, should be shooting at an unidentified target – period. And LEO’S are REQUIRED to identify themselves, specifically to avoid situations like this. Greenie effed up on this one, but im glad he’s okay and going to recover.
        And to those who keep saying the HO should have stayed inside and called 911 – had he not been armed, and that was a nerdowell with a flashlight in the backyard set on doing harm, the HO could very well be killed before any LEO’s arrived. This is why we all need to plan on only ourselves for protection, and hope for the police to handle it for you (plan for the worst, hope for the best – sound familiar??)

        1. Where used to live the police/sheriff was at least a half hour away, manly because it was before 911 and direct dispatch.
          We had animals that needed protection from other animals and some people. I did patrol our small property, about 20 acres. I was always armed, often with a handgun and a Garand. But I was not in or close to an urban area.
          IF you are alarmed by a noise from spooked animals or an alarm system it makes sense to dial 911 and get help “on the way” before you go out to investigate. Maybe it is just a horse with a broken fence or maybe it is a murderer. You don’t know
          If it is a murderer, will you be able to summon help while in a fight or if you’ve been stabbed or shot?
          Dialing 911 does several things… You can find out if there is a manhunt going on and if what you hear may be a police operation; you can inform police that you, the HO will be out checking your property. The officers maybe looking for a teen to 25 year old and you are an old man. Such information can prevent accidental shootings.
          If you go out without calling 911 and there is a prowler, you may be attacked and lay there for hours before anyone finds you.

          1. Oh, theres an intruder trying to get in the garage honey, maybe you should call information and see what all the various LEO agencies have going on around town right now.

            It’s ok, I’ll ask him to wait outside until you call.

            1. Yeah, no kidding! A bunch of wonder bread with the crust off morons have their heads up LEO’s asses. They just blindly cheer them on whether they’re in the wrong or not, and THAT’S what’s wrong with America….plus a bunch of other sh*t too!

    18. Cops are like everyone else, they are the good, the bad, and the ugly. And some are intelligent and some aren’t. Some use good judgement and common sense and some don’t. From what I have read on this story the guy was a legacy cop. That doesn’t work out sometimes. Given all that, the homeowner did not use good judgement either. I am glad that they both lived and hopefully they each learned something.

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