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Teen gunshot survivor gives out gun locks at Cache County Fair

Posted at 6:05 PM, Aug 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-09 20:05:51-04

CACHE COUNTY, Utah — Almost two and a half years after she was shot in the back of the head in a Smithfield canal, Deserae Turner and her family are working to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again.

The Turners are giving away free gun locks at the Cache County Fair to promote safe gun use in their community.

“Can I ask you a question?" Turner said to a young child at the fair. "What do you do if you see a gun laying around?"

Turner is speaking to every young person she can.

“Just to try and make things safer and prevent an accidental shooting,” she said.

In February 2017 when she was just 14-years-old, Turner was shot in the back of the head and left to die. She was found eight hours later in the middle of the night.

“Deserae is the reason we're doing this," her mother April Turner said, "because when things happened, I just wanted to go give a gun lock to everybody in the world."

Deserae Turner’s friend Colter Peterson, who was 16 at the time, got his hands on the gun and pulled the trigger. He conspired with Jayzon Decker who was also 16. They've both been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

“I don't care if you have a gun. I personally loved shooting guns before my injury. I'm not afraid of guns. I know they have a purpose. I just want to be safe around the guns,” Deserae Turner said.

With that goal in mind, the Turners are handing out 2,300 free gun locks at the fair, all of which were provided by Project ChildSafe, with some help from the sheriff's department and the lead detective from the Smithfield Police Department, who worked on her case.

Deserae Turner is hoping to turn her tragedy into a learning opportunity.

The Turners will also be at the fair Saturday. You can visit them and get a free gun lock at the Berries and Cream booth or the Circle B booth.