Report: DWR Officer Justified in Shooting Idaho Woman

Report: DWR Officer Justified in Shooting Idaho Woman

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officer was justified in shooting and killing an Idaho woman after she pointed a gun directly at the officer, a board reviewing the shooting has determined.

The DWR officer, whose name has not been released, and Summit County Sheriff's deputy Paul Smith shot and killed Natalie Turner during an Aug. 8 traffic stop after the woman got out of the passenger side of a car along a rural Summit County road and brandished a .357 Magnum.

Police officers were responding to a call of shots fired in Kamas at the home of John Pochynok, Turner's ex-husband. Turner, a former South Ogden resident, was the executive director of the Hailey Chamber of Commerce and had been involved in a bitter three-year custody battle with Pochynok over their two young children.

Police, called by Pochynok's neighbors, pulled the car over several miles from Park City and ordered Turner out of the car. Authorities said Turner appeared to struggle with Pochynok and two shots were fired. She emerged wounded from the car with the gun and pointed it at police officers, telling them her life was over.

An officer fired, killing her.

"The gun was pointed directly at our officer," review board member and DWR chief of law enforcement Rudy Musclow said. "Prior to that they saw her finger moving on the trigger. Our officer shoots and immediately ducks. He fully expected a round to be coming right at him."

Turner's fiance, David Gayler, 31, also of Hailey, was found dead Monday after he hanged himself in a jail cell. He was charged last week with attempted aggravated murder and attempted aggravated kidnapping in the case.

In the original incident, Pochynok was shot multiple times, then forced into Turner and Gayler's car. Smith and the DWR officer as well as a Utah Highway Patrol trooper chased the car at speeds reaching 85 mph.

None of the three officers who stopped the car was injured in the shooting. The UHP trooper did not discharge his weapon.

The DWR officer, who is a 24-year veteran of the department, was cleared to return to duty.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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