ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The Moline Acres police sergeant who was killed in the line of duty Saturday was more than a law enforcement officer. He was a husband, father, and friend.
“He was a great man. He really was. He really was,” said Donna Turner.
Donna said she and Herschel Turner had been together for more than 30 years. She recalled her final conversation with her husband before he left for work over the weekend.
“I told him I love him and to come home and be safe,” she said.
Turner would not make it home after his shift the following day. He was assisting Bellefontaine Neighbors with a traffic stop when he was struck by one of the department’s vehicles.
He later died at the hospital after three surgeries.
“They said they weren’t going to sugarcoat it. That he was in very bad shape. And to pray,” said Anthony Trotter, Herschel’s older brother.
Trotter and his brother were two years apart and very close.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better brother,” he said.
Sgt. Herschel Turner was known for his humor. He worked as a comedian before entering law enforcement, a profession he proudly represented for 22 years. He worked for Velda City, Pagedale, and, most recently, Moline Acres.
“Being a police officer was a life-long dream of his. He always wanted to be a police officer, even while doing other things,” Trotter said. “When he actually became a police officer, he was one of the happiest people in the world. Doing what he actually dreamed to do.”
The family said Sgt. Turner had a way to relate to complete strangers.
“When hear that someone is a police officer, sometimes you can be somewhat intimidated or afraid,” Trotter said. “But he made people feel like they could be like themselves around him even though he was a police officer…”
“He was approachable,” Donna said.
Through the tragedy, many people and organizations have stepped up to support the family.
BackStoppers has pledged to assist the Turners as they handle logistical and financial obligations, both in the short and long term.
“We never had any experience with BackStoppers. There were nights in this very living room we stressed ‘how are we going to do this,’ ‘how are we going to do that,’” Trotter said. “They made things so easy.”
The death marks two major losses for the Moline Acres Police Department. Over the summer, retired Chief David Dorn was shot by looters as he was working security outside a north St. Louis pawn shop.
Dorn’s wife, Ann, has connected with the Turners and the two have become a source of support for each other.
“She is there for me,” Donna Turner said.
The family also expressed thanks to Moline Acres Police Chief Gregory Moore. Moore has been in daily contact with the Turners, Donna said. He also started a GoFundMe account in Turner’s name. Turner was a father of three daughters and four sons. He was born and raised in St. Louis.