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Second man dies in TGIF shooting

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ATHENS — A second TGI Friday's shooting victim has died, a family member said Tuesday night.

Thurston Duran Turner, 27, of Athens died Tuesday, according to his older brother, Lionel Turner.

"A strong man's gone," said Lionel Turner, 30. "I'm with my family right now, and we're celebrating that he's going to a better place." He declined to answer further questions.

Tanqueray "Tank" Beavers, a former Athens High basketball player, died at the restaurant after the Dec. 17 shooting in Huntsville that also injured Turner, a former basketball player at Tanner High. Turner and Beavers, 21, were cousins.

Huntsville police have charged Jamal Roydrick Woods, 21, of Huntsville with capital murder and attempted murder for the shootings. Huntsville police had not confirmed Turner's death earlier Tuesday, but spokesman Wendell Johnson said that if he died, one attempted murder charge against Woods would automatically upgrade to capital murder. He is being held without bond at Madison County Jail.

According to police reports, Woods allegedly shot Beavers in the head because Beavers spoke to Woods' wife as he entered the restaurant. Woods also allegedly shot Turner and Autora Frias Rogers, 24, both of Athens, who were with Beavers, and William Timothy Reliford, 33, of Hazel Green, who was sitting at the restaurant bar.

Tanner Coach Chris Whitt, who coached Thurston Turner, said a former player told him Turner died at 3 p.m. after briefly waking from a coma. Turner was in Huntsville Hospital.

It's been eight years since he led the Tanner Rattlers to compete for back-to-back state basketball championships, and Whitt still uses him as an example.

"I give speeches to players today about how he gave everything he had," Whitt said. "He showed up and did it. You couldn't ask for a better player and person."

Whitt said Turner led the team to state championship games his junior and senior years, which were 1997 and 1998.

"He played for me from the time he was in seventh grade," Whitt said. "He was one of the best point guards I ever had. He was definitely a leader. He worked hard all the time."

Whitt said he was respectful and never got into trouble.

"It was shocking to hear about the shooting, and since then, the news about his condition has been up and down," Whitt said. "It's sad that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Turner was the son of Wyman and Odell Turner of Athens.

Friends have started a fund to raise money for Turner and the other shooting victims.

Starmeka Taylor said the fund will benefit the four victims and their families. Taylor set up an account through Family Security Credit Union. People can make donations at any branch. Locally, there are branches in Athens, Decatur and Madison.

A credit union spokeswoman said people can make checks out to the TGIF Victims.

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