GBI ID’s man killed in shootout with Pickens County deputies

By Ernie Suggs

The GBI on Sunday identified the Pickens County man killed in a police shootout that sent two local deputies to the hospital.

John Harley Turner, 36, of  Talking Rock, died during the Saturday night gun battle with members of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office.

According to a news release issued Sunday afternoon by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Pickens County sheriff’s deputies were sent to 1607 Carver Mill Road in Talking Rock to settle a dispute between two hunters and Turner, who is reportedly a neighboring land owner.

Turner had reportedly threatened the hunters with a pistol for being near his property, the GBI said. The hunters called 911, and deputies responding to the address encountered an armed Turner.

According to the GBI report, Turner began screaming at the deputies and pointing his pistol at them.  The deputies ordered him to put down his weapon, while calling for backup from additional Pickens County deputies and Georgia State Patrol troopers.

Officers shot Turner with “less lethal beanbag rounds” fired from a shotgun but, according to the GBI, Turner continued to shoot at the officers, hitting two.

One officer was hit in the arm near his elbow and another, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, was shot in the back.

The deputies and troopers returned fire, striking and killing Turner.

Pickens County Sheriff Donny Craig confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday morning that the deputies had been released from the hospital.

The GBI is conducting an independent investigation of the incident.