Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

Illegal ‘defensive’ gun use caught on tape

Written By: Bob - Mar• 26•13

Here is an excellent real-life case study for a concealed carry class on the misuse of lethal force.

Watch.

Q: Was this a legal use of lethal force?

A: No, not even close.

When you choose to carry a firearm, you chose for yourself a path of greater responsibility, and one where more tolerance is required.

Put simply, you can’t be a d*ck with a gun.

This guy and his wife lack both responsibility and tolerance, and one or both may end up looking at a long prison sentence as a result:

At approximately 1 p.m. Sunday, deputies responded to the area of U.S. 70 and English Street in the Newport area in reference to an incident of apparent road rage that argue resulted in shots being fired. According to the sheriff’s office, the alleged road rage incident began on U.S. 70 in the James City area of Craven County and ended with an altercation and shots fired in Newport.

Major Jason Wank with the sheriff’s office said the driver of the second vehicle, a Chevrolet pickup truck, pulled into a residential driveway, at which time Bradley Turner pulled in behind him.

The video clip shows Bradley Turner approaching the truck, making a comment and then punching the driver of the truck through the window.

Two men then jump out of the truck and get into a fight with Bradley Turner. Christy Turner is then seen in the video clip handing him a handgun.

Bradley Turner initialed this incident, including throwing the first punch. For his trouble, he got double-teamed. The two boys who retaliated against Turner downed him and immediately retreated. They ended their attack and withdraw when Turner ceased to be a threat. Even at this point, Turner likely faced criminal charges for assault. He never should have left his vehicle.

The situation spun even further out of control when Christy Turner decided to introduce a gun into the mix. They’ll now both face their day in court.

According to the news story, “Bradley Turner is charged with discharging a weapon into property, two counts of assault by pointing a gun, going armed to the terror of the people, injury to personal property and assault. His wife is charged with two counts of assault by pointing a gun.”

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24 Comments

  1. david says:

    This is the kind of fool who gives responsible gun owners a bad name. He deserves to be punished to the full extent of the law. He also deserved the beat down he got.

  2. Phelps says:

    This what the Trayvon Martin defenders THINK happen, even though none of the evidence supports it. If there was any evidence that this had happened, then Zimmerman WOULD be liable for 2nd Degree Murder — but it didn’t.

  3. The fact that his wife had to hand him the gun makes me wonder if the aggressor does not have a CCW, and if so if his not having one is a direct result of an aggressive character. People who engage in this kind of behavior–following someone home because they “disrespected” you on the road and punching them in the face–tend to have numerous such incidents in their past. It’s not typically a one-off behavior.

    If he had called it quits after the two young men threw him to the ground and withdrew, he could at least have considered himself lucky that apparently neither of the men had ever been taught how to properly punch someone. Plus, up to that point he was merely facing a charge of simple assault & battery–assuming this Craven County is the one in North Carolina, a class 2 misdemeanor under G.S. 14-33–a sympathetic judge/jury might have kept the punishment to a minimum (assuming a clean record, which I doubt). With a clean record, he’d be looking at 30 days for the assaults.

    Of course, he burned up that good fortune the minute he brought the gun into play. Merely pointing the gun at the two men is good for two counts of a Class 1A misdemeanor under G.S. 14-34 (interestingly, even if done in fun, or if gun unloaded, which is clearly not the case here). With a clean record, on these two counts he’d be looking at 60 days (maybe 120 if he’s sentenced to have them run consecutively). “Going armed to the terror of the people” is a common-law crime in NC (so don’t bother trying to find the statute), and qualifies as a Class 1 misdemeanor, so up to another 45 days on that charge.

    Where the going gets heavy is with the assault with a firearm charge, which under G.S. 14-32 is a Class C felony. If he actually fired the gun, it’s going to be tough for him to argue that he lacked the necessary intent to cause serious bodily harm. So that’s two counts there. The presumptive sentencing range for a Class C felony is ranges between 51-64 months. If they determine he was the first aggressor, which seems likely, or has priors, which also seems likely, that aggravating factor increases the sentencing range to 64 to 80 months. If, on the other hand, the court decides that the boys were the initial aggressors (depending on evidence of what actually happened on the road), the sentence could be mitigated to a range of 38 to 51 months.

    So, best case scenario if convicted on these two counts is 38 months (~3 years), with the sentences running concurrently. Worst case is 160 months (~13 years), with the sentences running consecutively. And that’s not counting any of the misdemeanor stuff. (This is all assuming, of course, that he’s convicted.)

    And his wife is charge with the same two counts of that Class C felony, so she’s looking at similar time if convicted.

    Somehow, I doubt it was worth it.

    The best that can be said is that at least nobody was killed.

    (Incidentally, if anyone would like to read the actual statutes, including the common law offense of “going armed to the terror of the people,” they’re all accessible at my web site.)

    Andrew

  4. Robb Allen says:

    I’m disappointed that Mr. Owens has stooped to this level of lying and deceit.

    Everyone knows that gun laws are too lax and that people can freely wave their guns and shoot at people with no repercussions whatsoever thanks to the NRA and the Gun Lobby. Claiming people who break the law with guns will see a court case is a lie perpetrated by Ruger and Smith & Wesson to sell more guns… or something.

    [endSarcasm]

  5. Jake says:

    I’m curious and I’m in Texas so the laws are a bit different:
    The wife’s intervention ought to be legal. She did not initiate the incident and could honestly say she was in fear for her husband as he was getting his ass kicked by two men. They did not back off until she and her handgun interjected themselves in to the situation. It’s not clear they would have stopped once he was on the ground.

    Can somebody explain up to that point what law she broke?

    Handing off the gun…..questionable. She should have smack numbnutz and told him to get back in the car.

    Numbnutz: I’d have no problem throwing the book at him. The entire situation, at least on the video, was of his making. He assaulted the driver and then brandished his wife’s weapon after the men had disengaged.
    He was not in fear for his life when he got out of his truck to punch the man. While getting his ass kicked he might have been but mommy took care of that. He was not in fear for his life when he took mommy’s gun and waved it around at the men. I think he needs a time out.

  6. In response to Jake: I’m afraid it’s a bit more complicated than that.

    The wife’s actions in bringing lethal force to the defense of her husband might have been legally justified if (1) the force being brought against her husband was unlawful AND (2) the force being brought against him was of a nature likely to cause death or grave bodily harm.

    Usually in such cases we aren’t blessed with a video of the event. In those cases the courts almost NEVER agree that it is appropriate to bring a gun to a fist-fight. In those rare cases where they do agree it is because the victim of the fist-fight has suffered very serious injuries and is likely to suffer more, even fatal, harm unless they respond with deadly force in self defense (ala Zimmerman). That’s clearly not the case here, the guy with the gun MIGHT have a bloody lip, but no more serious injuries are apparent.

    In this case, there’s a video to put in front of the jury, and no reasonable jury is going to see this than anything more than a brief exchange of fisticuffs. The punches being thrown are almost pathetically non-lethal, and the two young men seem almost as likely to hit each other as to hit the man. Further, the instant he’s on the ground they stop and withdraw.

    In any case, there’s a good argument to be made that the force being used against the husband was a lawfully justified response to his attack upon them. He attacked with bare hands, they responded with bare hands, and once he was moved a safe distance from their vehicle and was on the ground, they immediately withdrew.

    I suppose the wife can argue that FROM HER PERSPECTIVE the fight looked lethal in nature. That might work, but the video and the nature of those wide, loopy, stiff-armed punches is, I think, going to make it a tough sell.

    Or the prosecutor may just be planning to use the charges against the wife as leverage in a plea deal with the husband, and never really planning to bring her to trial at all. Wouldn’t be the first time.

    It might have been handy for the wife if she’d had some pepper spray or other non-lethal option to bring into play to secure her husband’s safety.

    But of course, anyone with that much forethought would not have found herself in that positon in the first place.

    Andrew

  7. Real Deal says:

    “They ended their attack and withdraw when Turner ceased to be a threat.”

    Not sure I agree with this based upon that video. It seems to me they backed off when the wife got out with her gun. Also I’m not clear on the weapon discharge. At the point that you hear it supposedly fire it looks like he would have shot himself from the way he was holding the pistol. Could the sound be a slamming door? It coincides with a jitter by the camera holder that might be consistant with someone slamming a door.

    As for Brad, he’s an idiot and he’s lucky those guys don’t know how to fight. Then again what do you expect from today’s current crop of emascualted boys?

    • louielouie says:

      what struck me, no pun, was how quickly both teens exited the vehicle. i have never seen anything/anyone exit a vehicle that fast, almost climbing over the first teen.
      imo, you can’t hear anything any of the teens are saying. i think the guys first punch is in response to the driver telling him to FO.
      this is why i don’t confront teens anymore. i used to run skateboarders off from in front of my store. then they shot out the windows to my store. the police came and said, “yes, the windows of your store have been shot out”. then stood outside my store for about twenty minutes, and compared movies they had recently taken their girlfriends to before leaving.
      i don’t confront the teens anymore.

  8. louielouie says:

    i’m wondering who how this was filmed.
    this guy didn’t know he was “on camera”?
    when/where was the discharge of the weapon?
    don’t any of you like to play “the knock out game”?
    from my perspective current teen behaviour, the DA better make sure i’m not on the jury.
    this guy and his wife would walk.

    • Bob says:

      louie, Turner followed them, boxed them in, and threw the first punch. There were TWO shots fired, only one of which was caught on camera, and there was no justification under NC law for a weapon to be brought into play. Mr. Turner brought the pain down on himself. As for Ms. Turner, I’m not so sure. she shouldn’t have introduced a gun to the situation, but the case against her seems less cut and dried.

      • Real Deal says:

        Like I said I find this video a little suspect.

        First, you can hear the wife tell them to “get the @#$% off him” from off camera, just before they throw him into the truck and she moves into view with the pistol. So they didn’t retreat on their own, the video attempts to make it seem this way from the initial narrow viewpoint. I’m bothered by the way the video starts out narrow and then transitions to a widescreen format when Turner is getting in the truck. Second, the shot heard on camera occurs right after she hands him the pistol. If it did fire it was an accidental discharge (he’s still an idiot) while he was getting a “grip” on the weapon and his left hand appears to be on the slide, possibly even partially over the barrel at the moment of discharge. Normally an accidental discharge like that would rattle someone, it doesn’t seem to phase him. Zero reaction, didn’t even flinch. When did the second discharge occur? It appreared Turner was leaving when the video stops.

        I agree with your initial premise that Turner is the poster child for bad gun ownership despite finding the video a bit fishy.

    • Real Deal says:

      don’t any of you like to play “the knock out game”?

      Never heard of it louie, can you enlighten me?

      • Rob Crawford says:

        Packs of teens — primarily from certain demographics — cruise the streets looking for likely targets, then sucker-punch them. The goal is to knock the target unconscious with a single punch.

        The targets are typically elderly and/or from other demographics.

  9. Lawrence says:

    “The couple reportedly had a toddler in the car with them.”

    Wow.

  10. Bob C says:

    The throw against the truck and to the ground that numbnutz took was vicious. I know NN started this but had the douchbag thrown him to the ground on the cement and not against the truck he might have split his head wide open. I think the wife fired the shot at this point and I’d have to agree that it was justified because at that point NN’s life was in danger. NN is a fat slob who got what he deserved but for such a sissy punch he gave the boy, he doesn’t deserve to have his head split open

    • Rob Crawford says:

      Dunno about North Carolina law, but in Ohio that shot wouldn’t have been justified even if she feared for his life. He initiated the confrontation, he apparently escalated the confrontation.

      • As in so many aspects of self defense law, Ohio is really an outlier here (invariably to the detriment of the armed citizen–it’s also the only state where, once self defense is an issue at trial, the armed citizen bears the burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he DID act in self defense; in every other state the prosecution bears the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did NOT act in self defense).

        In virtually all states, there are two ways for someone who lost theiri right of self defense as an initial aggressor to recover that right to self defense.

        (1) If they withdraw from the conflict and effectively communicate that withdrawal to the other party. This method applies in Ohio, but is not relevant for this discussion because the initial aggressor never withdraws.

        (2) If the aggressor starts the conflict with non-deadly force, but the victim escalates to deadly force. Although this method exists pretty much everywhere else in the US, it does not apply in Ohio. So, as Rob says, had the events of the video occurred in Ohio, the aggressor (and, by extension, his wife, who was purportedly coming to his defense) would not have been justified in using deadly force in self defense even if she feared for his life, precisely because he provoked the conflict.

        However, method (2) described above, DOES apply in North Carolina and pretty much everywhere except Ohio. So, the wife may be able to argue that even though her husband provoked the conflict, he did so with non-deadly force, and when she saw him thrown to the ground she feared for his life and therefore she was justified in bringing the gun into play.

        In my experience, however, such an argument is going to be a tough one to make successfully. The courts almost never consider merely being thrown to the ground to be the use of lethal force, nor one a reasonable person would consider likely to cause death or serious bodily of harm. People get into bare-handed scuffles all the time and one or both end up on the ground with no more than a scuffed knee. I’m unaware of any case in which this constitutes deadly force.

        Of course, it CAN happen that a person thrown to the ground dies as a result, I’ve read many cases where it happens. But absent an actual death or serious injury, throwing someone to the ground is unlikely to be seen as a use of deadly force. And there was no such death or serious injury here, so . . .

        Now, if the two men had continued to fight, perhaps kicking him around the head with a deadly weapon (to wit, a shod foot), or banging his head into the street/driveway (ala Zimmerman), that additional force might well have been deadly. But that didn’t happen in this case.

        For those who are interested, there’s an excellent recent Ohio appellate decision that goes into considerable detail on how Ohio self defense law treats initial aggressors: State v Ellis, 2012 Ohio 3586 (2012). If you have trouble finding it online, you can always access it at my web site at this link: http://bit.ly/YDXvpS .

        Also, the relevant N.C. statute is G.S. 14‑51.4(2). Again, if you have any trouble finding it online, it is always available on my web site at: http://bit.ly/YE2QNV.

        Andrew F. Branca
        Attorney at Law
        This post does NOT constitute legal advice.

  11. TomB says:

    “Real Deal says:
    March 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm
    Like I said I find this video a little suspect.”

    What is it that you find suspect?

  12. Carl B says:

    I think you’re being a little obtuse. The wife saw her husband (rightfully) taking a beating, but concerned that it was getting or might soon get out of hand, she brandished. It’s not on camera exactly when she brandished, but it’s apparent to me that is very close temporally to when they disengaged from their overly prolonged 2-on-1 beating and retreated. So at that point her behavior was understandable, logical, and achieved the desired outcome. Yeah he started it and deserved to get a little back (although the kids further escalated it for sure, it is gray area if they were getting into potential deadly force area), but it was enough and time for them to drop it. Which they did, probably with a little incentive to the threat but at that time not use of deadly force. So in my opinion the wife, who didn’t initiate but took steps to end the fight without violence, is in the right. Up until the point she hands off the gun. (BTW, which of them has the CCW permit?)
    The husband, jackass, who by the way doesn’t deserve a prolonged beating by 2 kids that might seriously injure, started to cross the line by taking the gun in a heated state. He then fired into the ground, crossing another line. But he showed sufficient restraint to not exercise further violence against his beaters, with the clear intent of going no further than sufficient display of force to ensure the end of the conflict. His problem legally is not intent to harm, rather negligence in using a weapon in a heated situation (that he started but got escalated on big time) in a way that could have gone worse (e.g., if they drew their own).

    • Tom L says:

      Carl, I have to respectfully disagree.

      (BTW – This is a perfect example of why the gun grabbers want to take our guns.)

      But as for your comments, I didn’t see a “prolonged beating” and I’m not aware of any principle of law, self defense or even good manners that dictates only “tit-for-tat” or only one return blow when you are attacked.

      Husband initiated the incident. He got a little roughed up but his PRIDE was hurt more than his body! And lets face it – neither of these kids is Chuck Norris. Had the kids NOT disengaged, I think there’s a good chance one or both of them might be shot dead right now.

      Likewise, if this had not been filmed who knows how far this lunatic might have gone? He’s clearly got anger problems to chase the kids down, exit his vehicle, and initiate a physical assault.

      I hope he does some actual jail time.

      And THANK GOODNESS someone filmed this.

  13. Dusty says:

    Real Deal says:
    March 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I’m bothered by the way the video starts out narrow and then transitions to a widescreen format when Turner is getting in the truck.

    That appears to correspond to the zoom feature that occurred at the same time, so it might just be a threshold characteristic of the camera when zooming. Download and watch it slo-mo and you’ll notice it.

    As for your suggestion that the young men (y-m) didn’t retreat on their own owing to the wife bringing the gun into play, if you watch the reaction of the hatless y-m, he does look over when the woman yells but does follow though on throwing the man down and doesn’t, at that time or right afterward, react as though he knew she had a gun.

    I would think that it’s usual in fights, for the fight to end and safe retreat be insured, the opponent needs to go down. Based on head direction, the y-m with the hat ceased fighting and backed off before ever looking at the woman.

    And there was no noticeable reaction of concern by either y-m about a gun coming into play until the woman handed it to the man.

    What’s interesting is that at the end of the fight a male voice yells something and at that time the y-m with the hat breaks off and backs up and the other y-m throw the man to the ground and backs off and those three events seem coordinated. I wish I could be sure what was yelled (seems to be one syllable) and by who but I can’t. (From first punch to throw-down, the fight lasted 8 seconds.)

    I didn’t see any puffs of smoke or any discharge of the firearm, though there might have been when the firearm was obscured by the vehicle’s back cab pillar.

  14. A says:

    we didn’t see the altercation on the road that started this. i’ve been thinking of getting a dash cam just for this reason. lot of high school kids think that it is fun to terrorize people on the road.

    as for these “kids”…they looked like seniors in high school and there were two of them kicking his ass pretty well….his wife certainly saved him from getting his ass kicked.

    he shouldn’t have gotten out of the car to speak with them. he should have gotten their tag number, called the cops, gone home with his wife.

    hope it works out for him.

  15. Right_2_Bear says:

    Here in Florida, NN would be facing 20 years in prison. Same thing if someone took Biden’s advice and blasted a shotgun in the air as he recommends. Firearm ownership requires tremendous responsibility. This is why for the most part I think firearms owners are some of the finest people around. (this guy in the video excluded of course)

  16. doc says:

    No shots were fired on this tape. I’m assuming this is a crew cab truck the way they exited. What you hear is probably the passenger side door slamming which also shakes the camera. Nowhere on this tape is there a gun discharging. Based on what I’ve seen personally it’s a bunch of kids doing douchebag stuff to get a rise out of people. It’s an epidemic now.

    But that’s no call for boxing them in and getting out and hitting the driver. Like a few others, I believe the wife is justified in brandishing a weapon to stop the fight after the husband goes down. Not right in handing it off and not right in the way she handled the weapon either. The guy then goes further in the wrong to grabbing the gun and going back to the truck to show them the gun.

    What I’ll say is this. If you are in a situation where teens or hoodlums are trying to get a rise out of you by taunting and being dangerous around you then be sure to fire up your own phone camera and get it all on tape. Call the police and tail them until the police can stop them. And continue to video the whole thing. This video is pretty much the poster child of what not to do when provoked. I say throw the book at the dumb guy, but the wife was well within her rights.

    Neither looks like they have ever even shot the gun they tote around though.