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.

KSL 5 TV Live

General Conference

FILE: In an aerial view, burned cars and homes are seen a neighborhood that was destroyed by a wild...

Ashley Moser

‘Everybody needed that news’: Maui members celebrate announcement of island’s first temple

It has been nearly two months since Hailey Chang’s hometown of Lahaina was destroyed by wildfires. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t think about what her community has lost.

2 months ago

FILE: Attendees at the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Conference Center....

Eliza Pace

20 new temples announced during October 2023 General Conference

The locations of 20 new temples were announced during the 193rd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

2 months ago

The Joseph Smith Papers is the result of a 22-year study by researchers who decided to pursue every...

Angie Denison

Joseph Smith: A Witness of Jesus Christ

This documentary reveals The Joseph Smith Papers, an unprecedented study of every historical document produced under the direction of Joseph Smith. With researchers working over the past 22 years, the project is finally complete and released in a multivolume set.

2 months ago

The Osmonds: Faith, Family, and Fame is a documentary celebrating the amazing contributions the Osm...

Carole Mikita

The Osmonds: Faith, Family and Fame

The Osmonds is a documentary that gives a behind-the-scenes look inside the iconic Osmond Family. Through rare archival footage and interviews, the segment is a tribute and celebration of the remarkable contributions the family made to music, entertainment, and the world at large.

2 months ago

Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Prime Minister of Samoa, at Brigham Young University. (KSL TV)...

Tamara Vaifanua

Samoa Prime Minister gets a warm welcome to Utah during conference weekend

The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invited Samoa’s Prime Minister to visit our beautiful state.

2 months ago


Dan Rascon and Angie Denison, KSL TV

HOPE: The Tabernacle Choir World Tour

This documentary offers an intimate behind-the-scenes look at the iconic Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square as it embarked on a momentous world tour, with Mexico as its inaugural destination.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

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