COVINGTON, Ga. — The Covington community, family members and friends are mourning the loss of a beloved local figure who was fatally shot by a family member on Saturday night, according to authorities.

This is what we know: 

  • Almond Turner was well-known, loved and respected in his community, as a former assistant police chief, deacon and Newton County School Board member, according to community members. He was also chief of security at a Conyers church.
  • He served 45 years in law enforcement in Newton County and another 20 years on the local school board. 
  • Authorities said he shot and killed by his nephew, 41-year-old Christopher Denson at a family birthday party at an event hall in Meridian, Mississippi. 
  • Meridian Police said that during the gathering, Denson went outside to his vehicle, then walked back inside with an AK-47 rifle and started shooting. They said Denson fired five or six shots, killing Turner.
  • The suspect's brother and another family member were able to take the gun away from Denson. Police said he drove away from the scene in a 2013 Black BMW 528. 
  • Denson was arrested at his apartment in Meridian on Sunday afternoon.
Christopher Denson
Christopher Denson
Meridian Mississippi Police Department
  • Investigators said they don't know if Almond was targeted in the shooting. 
  • Turner is from Covington, Georgia. He leaves behind his wife, three kids and several grandchildren.

RELATED: Nephew of former Covington deputy police chief arrested for his murder in Miss.

Community members took a moment to tell 11Alive what Turner meant to them.

  • "Just all of those words that you think a Superman would be," one mourner said. 
  • "We’re in a state of shock. This is the man who kept us safe," another mourner said.
  • "His strength and leadership will guide us through these dark days that we’re facing," Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey said.
  • "I was a 19-year-old kid who knew nothing about law enforcement, and he was my mentor and he taught me so much about not only the job but how to be a good person and treat people," Capt. Ken Malcom said.
  • "Last week alone, I talked to him Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and I will just miss all of those things," Shakila Henderson-Baker, Chairman of the Board recalled. "He is a true man of his word."

RELATED: Death of beloved former assistant police chief, beloved fixture in his community leaves a void, but his spirit still felt

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