Shooting survivor advocates for gun safety at Cache County Fair

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LOGAN (ABC4 News) – Two and a half years after a Cache County teen was shot in the head by a friend and left for dead in a Smithfield canal, she and her family are now advocating for gun safety in her community.

This weekend, Deserae Turner and her family will be encouraging discussion between parents and children about gun safety and passing out more than 2,000 gun locks at the Cache County Fair thanks to support from Cache County Sheriff’s Office and Project Child Lock.

“She’s a champion. Isn’t it great that she’s okay with this? She’s for this. She wants people to learn from her and she wants to teach others about it,” said April Turner, Deserae’s mother.

For the Turner family, the Cache County Fair has always been tradition and each year, they said they’re thankful they can still spend it with Deserae.

“What she has gone through has changed her permanently, changed us permanently. Unfortunately, she’s got a rough life and it’s sad but, of course we’re happy to have her with us,” said April.

Turner’s high-profile case came to a close in February 2018 when the two teens involved in her attempted murder were sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. However, her road to recovery has been long and to this day, she still has to attend therapy every day.

“It’s been hard. It’s not an easy recovery. Having a brain injury is very hard. I get exhausted five minutes into my daily workout,” said Deserae.

“We’re still struggling. Des is doing really good on one hand and not good on the other hand,” said April. “Every day is a challenge. We never know.”

Deserae’s shooting is not the first time her family has been impacted by gun violence. Her mom, April said her grandfather was killed from a gunshot wound during a domestic violence incident and her cousin committed suicide with a gun.

“This is just near and dear to my heart. I’ve had major injuries happen around me, including myself with guns,” said Deserae.

Although Deserae’s attempted murder was premeditated, she wants to spark a conversation about every angle of gun violence.

“I just want to promote gun safety. If you have a gun, great. I’m not dissing on you, just be safe with your guns,” said Deserae.

“Accidental shootings happen. You read those in the news. You meet people that it’s happened to. Suicide awareness, domestic violence awareness, crime victim awareness. Unfortunately, it happens,” said April. “Have a conversation with your children about what they should do if they find a gun. Take every gun seriously. Toy guns can look like real guns and real guns can look like toy guns.”

The Turner family will be at the Berries-N-Cream booth at the Cache County Fair through Saturday night.

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