October 2001 a baby was born and who would of thought that six weeks later his father, a police officer, was gunned down on a Fayetteville street.
That night, Nov. 29, 2001, was something no one in his family was prepared for. Officer Roy Gene Turner Jr. was a member of the Neighborhood Improvement Team and was patrolling a violent and crime-intensive area when he was shot to death. On October 22, 2002, the killer was sentenced to death for Turner’s murder. On December 13, 2012, the killer’s death sentence was commuted to life in prison when Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks ruled that racism was a factor in his sentence. The news is portraying that the killer was the victim, but the real victims are Roy Gene Turner Jr. and his family.
After talking to the Turner family, I learned his cousin’s motto:“I choose to remember the good times.” I believe this is one of the best ways to honor him for what he did for his family and his community. Roy Turner Jr. became an officer because of what happened on September 11, 2001. He wanted to make a difference in the world and know that his son would live in a safe place. Everyone that came in contact with him smiled more telling me stories about him and how he made their life great.
To pick just one memory, while at a Janet Jackson concert in Maryland a younger cousin who was in high school challenged him to a foot race — in the parking lot. Because Roy loved his family and the memories he could make with his family, they raced in the busy parking lot in Baltimore. The two took off in a sprint and nonetheless Roy’s younger cousin beat him fair and square. The rest of the family also chooses to remember the good times with him. When his family tells the heartwarming stories of him you can hear, see, and feel he touched the lives of everyone he know.
Roy Gene Turner Jr. will never be able to see his son graduate high school, race his son in a parking lot, or be able to continue to make a lasting impression on this world. I choose to remember the good.