Sheriff’s deputies arrested Terry Turner on a warrant accusing him of murdering Adil Dghoughi outside of Turner’s house in Martindale, Texas. Turner reportedly shot Dghoughi, a native of Morocco who was not armed, through the window of Dghoughi’s car.
Despite being arrested Friday on a murder charge, Turner, 65, spent less than two hours in custody. Online records show he was booked into the jail at 9:54 a.m. CDT and was released on bond at 11:50 a.m. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office says Turner had turned himself in after detectives contacted his attorney.
Turner’s arrest came 11 days after Dghoughi, 31, died — a delay that had frustrated the victim’s loved ones and advocacy groups, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“We welcome the arrest, but our work is not done,” CAIR-Austin Executive Director Faizan Syed said, pledging to push for “justice for the family of Adil Dghoughi and for all the families in Texas and nationwide impacted by gun violence.”
CAIR-Austin says Dghoughi “was a Moroccan national who obtained a master’s degree in financial analysis from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island after immigrating to the U.S. in 2013.”
Dghoughi was shot through his car window
The shooting occurred in the early-morning darkness of Oct. 11, after Dghoughi stopped his car near Turner’s house in the 100 block of Tina’s Trail in Martindale, roughly 35 miles south of Austin. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office said Turner “confronted a suspicious vehicle parked outside the residence.”
Turner reportedly told investigators that he had noticed a car in his driveway in the middle of the night, when he had awoken to use the bathroom, according to local media outlets that cite an affidavit supporting the arrest warrant.
At that time, the headlights on Dghoughi’s Audi were off. But as Turner fetched a handgun and headed outside, the lights came on and the car “began to rapidly accelerate in reverse,” according to Austin TV station KXAN.
Turner ran after the car, smacking its window. He then fired his gun at the driver. In a transcript of the 911 call Turner made to police, he told the dispatcher, “I just killed a guy,” explaining that he “tried to pull a gun at me, I shot,” KXAN reports.
But sheriff’s deputies who arrived at the scene did not find a gun in Dghoughi’s car, the affidavit reportedly states.
Delay in arresting Turner sparked criticism
Deputies carried out a search warrant the day Dghoughi died, but Turner was not taken into custody. Instead, the sheriff’s office stated, “The shooter in this case is cooperative and the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office does not believe there to be a threat to the public.”
The delay in filing charges and releasing information about the case has frustrated Dghoughi’s family, as well as advocacy groups who say they’re concerned that any criminal case against Turner could be hindered by Texas’ “stand your ground” law.
Such laws were meant to give legal support to people in rare self-defense instances, such as when someone defends their own property. But “there’s a history of self-defense laws being invoked when Black people are unjustly killed,” as NPR’s Deepa Shivaram reported.
The sheriff’s office seems to have heard some of the criticisms of the delay in arresting Turner.
“Detectives have worked tirelessly on this case,” the agency said as it announced the move, adding that the investigators “conducted multiple interviews and executed multiple search warrants.”
CAIR-Austin is holding an interfaith prayer vigil in remembrance of Dghoughi on Saturday night, outside of the Texas Capitol in Austin.
Information was redacted from the incident report
Only sparse details about what happened have been made public. In an incident report sent to NPR by the sheriff’s department, the “narrative” portion of the form that would normally describe the events was redacted in its entirety.
The Caldwell County District Attorney’s Office says it’s limiting the release of information about Dghoughi’s death, citing state law that allow details to be withheld in cases of either an ongoing investigation or prosecution.
The sheriff’s department report lists the criminal offense as murder, specifying a portion of Texas law that applies to anyone who “intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual.”