Meridian police seek suspect after man shot to death at family gathering

Police in Meridian are searching for 41-year-old Christopher Denson, a suspect in a fatal shooting at a family gathering Saturday night.

The shooting happened around 8:30 p.m. at an event hall at 5051 Poplar Springs Dr., said MPD Capt. John Griffith.

A suspect in the fatal shooting of a man at a family birthday party Saturday night in Meridian is in police custody.

Christopher Denson, 41, was taken into custody by Meridian police without incident at 1:40 p.m. Sunday at his apartment on Highway 39, Meridian Police Capt. John Griffith said.

Denson was charged with murder and bond was set at $1 million, Griffith said.

The shooting happened around 8 p.m. at an event hall at 5051 Poplar Springs Drive, Griffith said.

Suspect in fatal shooting in Meridian in police custody; victim a retired assistant police chief from Georgia

photo courtesy Newton County School System 

Almond Turner

The suspect, Denson, left the party, went to his vehicle and walked back inside with an AK-47 rifle, Griffith said.

Meridian police: Man shot to death at family gathering

Erin Kelly / The Meridian Star

Police investigate a fatal shooting at an event hall at 5051 Poplar Springs Dr. in Meridian Saturday night. 

Denson then fired five or six shots, killing his uncle, Almond Turner, 69, of Covington, Georgia, police said.

The suspect’s brother grabbed him and another family member took the gun away, according to Griffith.

Denson left the event in a 2013 black BMW 528 with Mississippi license plate LAD 5837, police said.

Almond Turner

Courtesy The Covington News

Covington Police Department retired Assistant Chief Almond Turner, left, with Chief Stacey Cotton.

Turner was a retired assistant police chief in Covington, a member of the Newton County, Georgia Board of Education and a deacon at a church, according to The Covington News.

“We are stunned, devastated, and heartbroken,” Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey of the Newton County School System said in a statement to The Covington News.

Investigators haven't identified a motive in the shooting, but said that it appears Turner was the intended target.

Please check back for updates.

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