Shooting survivor Deserae Turner proves she is ‘tougher than a bullet’

Mar 27, 2022, 11:35 PM | Updated: Jun 18, 2022, 8:45 pm

LOGAN, Utah — Five years ago last month, Deserae Turner, who was just 14 years old at the time, was shot in the back of the head and left for dead in a canal near Logan.

Her incredible story of survival and her willingness to live is the story behind a special KSL TV documentary by Dan Rascon, set to air Saturday, April 2 at noon, after the first session of General Conference for the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I remember it being so cold,” Deserae Turner said as she walked along the canal on the five-year anniversary of the shooting. “It’s hard to come back here, especially on this day.”

Deserae walked arm and arm with her older brother by her side for support.

This was the very sight where she was just minutes away from losing her life.

“Five years ago, I was shot in the head,” she said. “I laid in the canal for eight hours, trying to get help, trying to stand up, trying to crawl, trying to move.”

It was about 11 p.m. on February 16, 2017, when two family friends say they suddenly got the feeling they needed to go out and look for Deserae. They came to the canal and found her just after midnight.

Christy Barfuss and Sue Hintze have known the Turner family for years. In fact, Hintze was Deserae’s 3rd-grade teacher.

“It was almost like this little angel on my shoulder was saying, ‘Shut up. Get your stuff, get your gear and go,’” Barfuss said.

“I felt this pull and I couldn’t stop,” Hintze said.

They were stunned when they actually found Deserae.

“She was laying on her back; her feet were this way. One of her shoes was kicked off slightly,” Barfuss said.

“Around 12:40 a.m., Christie had called me, and she’s like, ‘We found her.’ And I’m like, ‘What?’ She’s like, ‘We found her,”’ said April Turner, Deserae’s mom to KSL.

Deserae spent the next 63 days in the hospital. Her mom never left her side.

“People who get gunshot wounds to the head don’t live,” April said.

But miraculously, Deserae did make it. Not only did she survive, but she is also thriving in a big way. A high school graduate. A State 4H champion with her dog Snoopy. Manages her own flower garden, and is now serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Yes, I would definitely say it’s a miracle,” Deserae said.

A miracle that has resulted in a powerful catchphrase.

“I told my dad I am tougher than a bullet.”

See “Tougher than a Bullet” Saturday, April 2 at noon, only on KSL TV.

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Shooting survivor Deserae Turner proves she is ‘tougher than a bullet’