A late-night altercation at a Springfield, Missouri smoke shop resulted in a trip to the hospital for one man, and his next stop is going to be the county lockup. Authorities in the city say Airreonte Turner was at the Wicked Superstore on Springfield’s north side in the early morning hours of December 14th when for some unknown reason he got into a disagreement with another customer. At one point Turner pulled a gun and held it to the man’s head, but didn’t pull the trigger. Instead, according to police Turner waited until both men were outside the store before he opened fire, only to discover he wasn’t the only one who was armed.
Turner was struck twice and transported to Cox North Hospital, according to the probable cause report. The car was followed to the hospital by Greene County deputies who observed Turner with gunshot wounds to his shoulder and thigh.
In an interview with police, Turner admitted that he was in possession of a firearm during the incident and pointed it an individual inside the store. Court documents say he later admitted to firing rounds from the gun toward an individual in the parking lot.
Court documents indicate police believe Turner was the main aggressor during the encounter — with surveillance video showing him press his gun up against the other man’s head while they were inside the store.
This would have been an exceedingly stupid series of decisions on Turner’s part no matter the circumstances, but the fact that Turner is prohibited from legally possessing a firearm has only compounded his problems. It was just a couple of years ago that the 23-year-old was convicted on a variety of charges including second-degree assault and second-degree burglary, and though he clearly didn’t spend much, if any, time behind bars for those offenses the latest charges could come with a lengthy stay in state prison if he’s convicted of armed criminal action, unlawful use of a weapon, and unlawful possession of a firearm.
As for the armed citizen who police believe acted in self-defense, it doesn’t appear as if he’ll be facing any charges at all. Based on the account by law enforcement, it sounds like he did a commendable job of trying to de-escalate Turner’s aggression. Even after he’d had a gun held to his head, he only returned fire after Turner began blasting away at him in the smoke shop’s parking lot. At that point, any reasonable person would conclude that the armed citizen had a justifiable fear of death or great bodily harm, and was well within his rights to draw his own gun and fire off several rounds in self-defense.
According to the most recent crime statistics from the Springfield Police Department, firearm-involved incidents are down almost 20 percent compared to last year, which is great news (and completely contrary to the arguments of gun control activists that more guns equals more crime). Still, armed robberies and violent assaults involving the criminal misuse of a gun aren’t unheard of in the city, and individuals like the armed citizen above are making a smart decision by choosing to carry in case they’re the unwitting and unwilling target of an attack. This incident could easily have led to Turner being charged with murder if his intended victim wasn’t able to fight back, but because he was exercising his right to carry he got home safely that night while Turner got a trip to the hospital and the county jail.