COVINGTON, Ga. — A grieving community gathered on the courthouse square Friday evening, Nov. 29, to surround the family of Almond Turner during a candlelight vigil as local leaders honored the late public servant and revered friend to many as a champion for his beloved Newton County.
A career lawman and sixth-term school board member, Turner was cherished for his lifetime commitment of service to his native Newton County community as well as his passion as a dedicated father, friend and mentor.
Turner, 69, was fatally shot during a family gathering in Meridian, Mississippi, last weekend, and his body returned to Covington with a police motorcade from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport just hours before the vigil Friday night.
His funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 2, at Springfield Baptist Church in Conyers, where Turner was a deacon.
Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown spoke of his life-long friendship with Turner, which fittingly began when the two started their law enforcement careers as beat cops with the Covington Police Department assigned to patrol the zone which included the Covington Square in 1972.
“Almond fought for everything that he achieved, it wasn’t given to him,” he said. “The life we chose required courage, not cowardice. We served the community at work and at home, and at church and in the neighborhood.”
Turner’s public service did not end with his retirement from law enforcement after 45 years. He was currently serving his sixth term on the Newton County Board of Education, where his law enforcement expertise proved instrumental in school safety improvements.
“Whatever he was involved in, he was committed to,” Newton County Board of Education Chairwoman Shakila Henderson-Baker told the crowd, who held candles in honor of the late dignitary. “We may never meet another person like Almond Turner. He was a real-life hero, a rare individual that did not know a stranger. To his family, I want to thank you for sharing him with us.
"Mr. Almond Turner is legendary and one thing I can say is legends never die. His legend will forever live on in this community.”
Also during the candlelight vigil, Covington police Capt. Ken Malcom recounted his life-long friendship with Turner, which began when he joined the CPD at 19 years old.
“This community lost a guardian,” he said. “For 45 years, this man served in the gap between good and evil. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for faithfully serving the people of Covington and Newton County.