No Charges for KY Homeowner Who Shot Cop in Backyard

Early in the morning of October 10th, 2018, a young police officer and an armed Kentucky homeowner were involved in a shootout. The officer was searching near a fenced area on the homeowner’s property for a suspect he had been chasing when things went south.

David Turley, the homeowner, saw suspicious activity in his backyard at around 6 a.m. What he didn’t know was that it was Zachary Morris, 23, an Owensboro police officer. Turley was holding a handgun at his side. Officer Morris, seeing a person with a gun, shot at Turley, who returned fire and took cover. Morris was hit in the abdomen below his bullet-resistant vest.

David Turley was in an officer-involved shooting in his own backyard. (Photo Credit: WAVE3 News)

After the shooting David Turley told local news station Wave 3, “I heard some commotion over there by the fence. 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 WAVE3 news anchor Katie Kapusta that he was shot at twice and he returned fire four times. He also stated that he did not know anyone had been hit until 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,” said Turley.

He further stated that he did what he had to do to protect himself and his family. “I got five grandkids in this house, I’d lay my life down for every one of them.”

In a tweet from Katie Kapusta, she further explained that Turley said it was a misunderstanding and he thought the officer was a suspicious person.

Owensboro Police Officer Zachary Morris. (Photo Credit: WAV3 News)

The Owensboro Times reported that Turley was not hit during the incident. Officer Morris is in good condition after emergency surgery at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. The Owensboro Police Department confirmed that Officer Morris discharged his firearm.

David Turley was taken in for questioning but was released. At this time there have been no charges filed against Mr. Turley. The Kentucky State Police Critical Incident Response Team is now conducting an investigation into the shooting.  This independent probe was requested by the Owensboro Police Department.

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{ 40 comments… add one }
  • Justin May 1, 2020, 2:06 pm

    This officer shot at an old man in his own backyard. Why is anyone defending him? What would’ve happened if the cop had killed this gentleman? Nothing. I would’ve returned fire as well, aggressively advanced, and not ceased firing until I was satisfied there was no threat. Thats what I was taught in the academy.

  • BRENT BAIRD May 1, 2020, 9:27 am

    After reading the content of these comments, i am shocked and disheartened by the comments of most of the commentors,sadly if this is a reflection of my fellow gun owners mentality, we are in deep shit! The rule of law is what keeps our individual freedom/safety intact, ALL including those who enforce it must follow and be held accountable when they do not…….the knee-jerk bullshit comments are killing me…..

  • scotty Gunn October 20, 2018, 2:31 pm

    Friendly fire due to lack of communication.

  • Jack S. October 20, 2018, 1:48 pm

    A few years ago in the middle of the night our bedroom window was all the sudden lit up like someone was coming thru. Scared the stuff out of us. A booming voice yelled out W5#$% Sheriffs Dept can I talk to you? Well we felt that no bad guy was going to arrive like that. It turns out a neighbor had came home to a burglary in progress. Bad guy drops his stuff and ran in our direction. We live in a rural area so we were the only house in that direction. The Deputy asked if he could look around witch of course we said yes. I gave him the key to the locks on the out buildings and gave him a general description of the layout. They found the bad guy in a bar ditch when the DPS helio arrived with heat seeking good guy stuff. I thought everyone acted professional…have always had respect for our deputies since.

  • Jake October 20, 2018, 1:36 pm

    POLICE UNIONS ARE MASSIVE DEMOCRAT DONORS!!
    has nothing to do with the article but it needs to be said more!

  • Peter Brown October 19, 2018, 6:00 pm

    I haven’t read all of the comments. The first comment was more than enough. Why can’t we be a little civil? Our vitriolic words feed the anti-Second Amendment zealots.
    The shooting could have been prevented had the homeowner remained in his house and reported his concerns to 911…simple. Homeowner probably would have been told to stay on the phone, remain in the house and gather the kids. Homeowner at least had the protection of his house.
    When outside “looking for trouble”, he could have been blindsided by dirtbag(s) (using a flashlight)??
    When unconscious or disabled, at that point the kids might have been totally unprotected. Hero-homeowner looked for trouble and found it.

    • meeester March 9, 2020, 11:12 am

      or.. “hero homeowner” (your wiseguy sarcasm – not mine) dealt with something and no one in his house did get hurt.

      nice that cop not killed etc etc

  • AJ October 19, 2018, 4:33 pm

    Wow.. just wow. Some of these comments here. Yes, the cop was in the wrong (probably). The fact is you don’t know the whole story.
    But come on. Comments about killing cops being a positive is a great way to represent the 2A community, bravo.
    That’s sarcasm dumbasses.

    You are giving Dems all the ammo they need to call us terrorists. I don’t know about you all but my service taught me a few things about being professional. It also taught me that I don’t want to be considered a terrorist. Especially due to some dumb shit, backwoods, hill jack rhetoric. You want to be that way, join the nazi party or something. But don’t pervert the 2nd Amendment with your backwards attitude.
    This kind of shit happens in the firearms world. It’s unfortunate but it happens. Luckily this may be an actual circumstance where a guy who looks like he pounds meth all day is actually in the clear. But we don’t need proof of mental instability to be exposed because people can’t keep a lid on it. We have moles in the left, which means they probably have the same. Stop giving them shit to report back to their handlers.

    • Jake October 20, 2018, 1:23 pm

      This is a win for the American constitution buddy. Cops kill citizens wrongfully every day with impunity and are praised and paid for it… for abusing the citizens, the citizens rights and the constitution while under color of law… when a citizen is attacked by the government (in this case a blue dog) and they FIGHT, that is heroic and when they FIGHT and WIN that is EPIC! This should serve as a warning to the government from her people, we are spoiled it’s true but we are still free and we are still dangerous. We are Americans, we are not sheep.

    • Jay October 25, 2018, 6:46 am

      Speaking of trash talk, I for one, my family being from W. Virginia mountains, do not appreciate your comments of re; “back woods, hill jack rhetoric.” Living currently in the East Texas Piney woods, I presume your comments about “backwoods attitude” includes me and mine here as well. Just how many times have you sat and talked with mountain people? The same for “back woods” people from any location? What do you know of us vs what apparently you THINK you know? I suspect the city slickers and urbanites are far more likely to be bad mouthing LEOs than we country people who I assure you have more respect for life and public officials than you seem to think. We are just more self sufficient and inclined to take care of ourselves than call the police at every little tyhing like the homeowner who was terrorized by his housecat and had to dial 911 for somebody to rescue him… (Google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about). As for you, AJ, please keep you little minded bigotry to yourself!

      Now, about the article. Yeah, the homeowner had done better to have stayed in the house and call the cops. but since he didn’t the Cop was wrong for not identifying himself and calling for the unknown person to put down his gun. A “shoot first and ask questions later” is the wrong attitude for a peace officer.
      I am glad everybody survived. Concerning this cop, he should, and I hope finds himself needing to, find another line of work.

      • Brook Mcleod March 9, 2020, 7:23 am

        he wasn’t an officer…. he was a firefighter who shot the lawnmower guy. I am in definite support of defending ourselves but has anyone else noticed the camera placement? this is not like he had a security camera covering his property, this is a cell phone camera that had been turned on and placed in the grass intentionally. I have a feeling the firefighter might have known he was about to shoot this guy considering he just turned his phone on to record his “self- defense”. Now is it premeditated at this point?? I’m not sure but usually in self defense situations you don’t have time to turn your camera phone on, place it perfectly so that it will catch the whole thing, and have it all go down in your favor. I dunno if I think this guy got off because he was a firefighter or not…. im just saying it’s pretty damn convenient thay on the day the neighbor brings his girlfriend’s gun outside he ends up dead…..maybe the firefighter saw the neighbor had the gun while riding the lawnmower and then thought to himself “here’s my chance to kill this mo-fo” so he taunts the lawn mower guy starting an argument and then whips the camera out and sets it in the grass to record his act of “self- defense”. It just seems a little sketchy to me. again, I am a supporter, gun owner, and rights defender so im completely happy that the guy was able to defend himself and his family and property but I also think all things need to be considered.

  • Dan October 19, 2018, 10:28 am

    I guess you missed the part in the article where the officer was chasing a suspect. He wasn’t just snooping around the property. It was an unfortunate situation for both sides. You anti-LE types should educate yourselves beyond video games and go do some ride alongside and get a small taste of the complexities of LE work. Doesn’t mean every officer makes the correct decision every time, but don’t sit back and armchair QB situations unless you’ve done the job.

    • Mike Ross October 19, 2018, 11:52 am

      That info is in the first paragraph of the story. Guess you missed it.

    • Dave Brown October 19, 2018, 12:14 pm

      I do not see a word against LE, nor a word against the guy that shot back. LE has a tuff job, and these things can happen. I will guess this guy goes home free of charges, and I hope and pray The Cop will recover. Now in my 66 years it has become clear that we have been training our LE a whole lot different then we did 40 years ago. We cannot train of Cops to shoot to quick, and then shoot so many rounds that the guy is dead period. Then they determine if it was a good shooting or not. If that is how we want our Cops to act, then WE should have the same Right, get it? I would gladly backup any Cop, that is up to the point I can determine if they were right or wrong.

      • BwaHa October 19, 2018, 1:24 pm

        I was a cop for 40 years. I became one as soon as I got out of the army in 1975. I\’m retired now. I\’ve been shot at several times and I\’ve discharged my sidearm as well in my life. I only returned fire towards a bad guy on one occasion and that was to keep the freak behind his barricade so my partner(s) could outflank him. When you\’re on the down range side of hot lead you need to react somehow… preferably in a manner where you\’ll at least neutralize the threat. I\’ve had other folks and cops shoot at me too. I\’m still here and I\’m assuming most of them still are. It\’s a harrowing experience no matter how many times you\’ve been a target for someone you just don\’t tend to get \”used to it\”. The instinct is to drop and/or scoot and/or cover and return fire. The old saying \”shoot and scoot\” comes to mind. This fellow was doing just that. He was on his own property, had an unknown \”intruder\” on his property. The lighting was questionable at best (most likely… an assumption here being as it was 0600 and the cop had a flashlight) and he was shot at by the subject who he thought was trespassing. He returned fire. His bullet(s) neutralized the threat to him and his family. Here\’s hoping the officer makes a full recovery and we all learn from it. End of story.

    • Jim Cargill October 19, 2018, 1:17 pm

      It is a sad fact that these interactions are going to become commonplace. More guns are owned by more people, many who don’t know much about laws, use of force, or even how to use the gun properly. Cops, for their part, are being targeted more often, so some are developing trigger-happy tendencies.

      I open carry everywhere that is legal. My only real fear is that I will have to justifiably use my gun in a situation, then will get shot by an off-duty cop, or other CC or OC, who does not grasp fully what is happening. There are going to be more and more negligent shootings as we move forward into an increasingly violent society.

    • Dan October 19, 2018, 2:19 pm

      I saw it, I referenced it. How did I miss it?

  • Joe Lopez October 19, 2018, 10:17 am

    See here – I’m sure there’s much more to this story than can ever be captured in a little article such as this. Suffice it to say we have a rookie officer who is green and apparently panicked. The police actions during and following the incident are highly suspect and need to be properly / independently investigated. It’s the PD decision as to whether or not they should fire the officer involved and any others that stepped out of line following the incident. I’m sure the PD and City, County (whatever) are feeling the possibility of a major lawsuit is coming their way so I can only say I hope the truth prevails and people are held accountable.

  • December October 19, 2018, 9:35 am

    If it had been the other way around with the homeowner getting shot case closed. Investigation would have said Officer feared for his life. You know it should be same standard for civilians as well.
    Twon shots toward me is enough.

    • January October 19, 2018, 4:23 pm

      There is a reason for the saying, “dead men tell no tales”.

      Absolutely correct

    • Jake October 20, 2018, 1:29 pm

      #SHOOTBACK! don’t be sheep.

  • Sean Carberry October 19, 2018, 8:34 am

    Maybe the officer needs more training. He’s lucky to be alive.

  • Jay October 19, 2018, 8:01 am

    Wow! Seems that to many times these days Police shoot first and ask questions later! I understand their side but come on, the man is coming from the direction of his house, cop with a vest on, never says, Police freeze and just starts shooting! I don;t know about you but I don’t give a rat’s behind who you are, if you shoot at me for no reason especially on my own property I’m shooting back until empty!

  • akjc77 October 19, 2018, 7:51 am

    I understand Police are targets now days but this new tactic of shoot first then think BS isn’t helping anything. Did he not even think to call out Police? When your on someones property you should expect them to check out whats going on. Sorry the officer was shot but glad the court got it right!

    • Andrew Buckmichael October 19, 2018, 9:15 am

      I hope the targets are hit much more often. Good riddance.

  • Andy Buckmichael October 19, 2018, 6:54 am

    Typical idiot cop. Should be fired.

    • Jon Baniak October 19, 2018, 7:40 am

      Andy, I’ve listened to your anti-police comments on here and it really makes me feel sorry for you. Was the cop wrong for not identifying himself? Yes, but for you to call cops typical idiots is wrong as well. Whatever your stupid ass went to jail for wasn’t the Cops fault. It was yours. Get over it and get a life.

      • BwaHa October 19, 2018, 1:32 pm

        It ain\’t worth it Jon. This Andrew thing, she gets off on folks responding to her hateful posts. It\’s best just to read the name and move along… nothing to see there.

      • Jake October 20, 2018, 1:34 pm

        You sir are a holster sniffing badge bunny and would bet my life your a life long Democrat and Hillary fanboy! Just like all the DEMOCRAT POLICE UNIONS! people understand that the blue dogs can’t be trusted, blue dogs bite for no reason and a dog that bites gets put down. I hope he gets another and god bless Herman Bell!

  • Dustin October 19, 2018, 3:07 am

    Misunderstanding? Thought the officer was a suspicious person?

    The officer WAS a suspicious person! Sneaking about in peoples’ yards, not identifying himself, shooting at the homeowner without saying a word… And I hate to go Ad Hominem here, but that picture… Holy cow this “cop” belongs in a padded room, not a uniform… He looks like a psycho, he behaves like a psycho…

    Why approach a bad guy? Aim your rifle and shout from cover if you feel like communicating… If the “suspicious person” then decides to shoot at you/approaches you while failing to identify…

    Two stupid people with guns…

    • Jim Cargill October 19, 2018, 1:37 pm

      you know, dustin, you sound like the guy of guy I would like to sit down and have a few beers with…just to hear how completely moronic your thoughts are. ” this “cop” belongs in a padded room, not a uniform… He looks like a psycho, he behaves like a psycho…”How can one person be so damn stupid? Do you realize that many, if not most, of our military boys shave their heads, and look pretty much like the person you are claiming is a psycho, just by looking at his picture? Are you absolutely unable to simply look at what happened, and make intelligent comments, rather than show yourself to be a total numb nuts?

      The cop made a mistake, and it almost cost two lives. He will learn from it, though he may have to be in another profession. You, and others, need to realize that the “mistake mechanism” inside all of us does not identify whether the mistake involves a firearm, or a fist, or a word. We make mistakes caused by our training, our fears, our inattention, and so much more. These mistakes happen in a split second, which is why they are “mistakes”, and not well-considered actions.

      • Jay October 25, 2018, 7:04 am

        Jim, I agree with your remarks but, it does call to light a concern I have… As a military veteran I do not appreciate cops calling others civilians. THEY are civilians themselves. Just because they wear uniforms does not make them soldiers. This whole shaved head “I’m a badass” look thing sets me to thinking those individuals have the whole wrong mindset to be reliable peace officers. I have known some REAL bad asses in my day (and no, I do not claim to be or have been, one) and the one thing they all had in common was they didn’t wear it on their sleeves, didn’t make a point to call attention to it.

  • Kathy October 18, 2018, 10:16 pm

    Dr-The home owner was my ex he was in his backyard. The reason he shot back at the cop cause the cop didnt say he was a cop. He thought it was his suspect so the cop shot at him. My ex was defending himself. Why was my grandchildren dragged out of their beds and put on the ground with guns to their heads along with my son and daughter-in-law. And killed their family dog in front of them.

    • akjc77 October 19, 2018, 7:55 am

      I understand Police are targets now days but this new tactic of shoot first then think BS isn’t helping anything. Did he not even think to call out Police? When your on someones property you should expect them to check out whats going on. Sorry the officer was shot but glad the court got it right!

    • John Duncan October 19, 2018, 4:11 pm

      I am sorry, but not supprised your family went through this. I want to make sure I have the facts correct, and make sure all these COPS ARE NEVER WRONG people understand how 99% of cops behave in this day and time.
      Kathy please correct me if Im mistaken on any statement.
      * Your X heard someone outside his house and went to investigate.
      * Finds someone hiding, who fires two shots at him with no warning.
      * He returns fire and the threat is neutralized.
      * More police show up run in with weapons drawn, and lead everyone in the house including your grandchildren outside while holding guns to there heads.
      * The police also execute the family dog in front of the family.
      Did I get it correct? I bet that’s not far off.
      These cowardly thugs with costumes on should all be in jail. Over the top heavy handed intimidation and terrorizing of people has to stop.
      This is not how police used to act. I am sure a lot of it is training and some is the quality of people they are recruiting. But it has to stop, the attitude and actions of police is out of control.
      Now before somebody makes an ignorant assumption, I am a white male, 52 years old, never been to jail, business owner. I am the person who would help an officer in trouble, but when they act like this they must be fired.
      JD

  • Dr Motown October 18, 2018, 7:58 am

    Neither one of them bothered to speak first before shooting? The cop opens fire without identifying himself? The homeowner doesn’t yell out the window first before going outside with a gun? Both parties need some common-sense training here

    • Ray Robinson October 19, 2018, 5:44 am

      I don’t know about Kentucky but in both Wyoming and Arizona a homeowner has the right to be armed on his own property and an officer who shoots first without warning or obvious threat to his safety is wrong. He may be in the wrong profession.

    • mozzie October 19, 2018, 11:03 am

      HEY BAD GUY, I”M COMING OUT NOW, PLEASE TRAIN YOUR WEAPON ON ME AS I COME OUT MY DOOR.

    • Pat J October 19, 2018, 11:37 am

      I’m getting old and can’t do two things at the same time.
      Shooting a threat will take precedence over chatting with it.

    • Jim Cargill October 19, 2018, 1:07 pm

      DR…I can tell that doesn’t stand for Doctor! Yell out the window, huh? If it turns out to be a really bad guy, you might have just made yourself a target. AND…with 5 grandkids inside, I would sure as hell go outside to engage, as I must minimize any chance of a bad guy getting closer to my kids.The homeowner doesn’t need common sense training. You, however, need to get yourself into such a situation once, JUST ONCE, so we can all comment on how poorly you handled it.

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