Former Cincinnati Bengals running back David ‘Deacon’ Turner was shot dead after a confrontation with police outside a convenience store.
Deputies were called to the store in Bakersfield, California, a little before 1 a.m. Sunday after getting a report that a group of juveniles were trying to get adults to buy liquor and cigarettes for them.
When deputies arrived, they spoke to Mr Turner as he left the store carrying alcoholic beverages.
He was with his 19-year-old son and a 16-year-old.
Kern County Sheriff’s spokesman Craig Rennie said Mr Turner was cooperative at first.
But then he hit one of the deputies in the back of the head with a bag containing two 24-ounce cans of beer that he was carrying.
Another deputy then fired twice at Mr Turner, 56, who died a short while later at a local hospital.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office are investigating the shooting, cbsnews.com reports.
Deputy Wesley Kraft, who fatally shot Mr Turner, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Turner was a star running back at San Diego State University before playing three seasons with the Bengals from 1978 to 1980.
In 44 career games he rushed for 549 yards on 142 carries and scored two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving.
According to residents, he became down on his luck after NFL days.
He was out of work for much of the time and got in trouble with the law
Bakersfield College coach Gerry Collis said: ‘He’s the best running back I coached at BC, but heck I only coached there 27 years.’
Mr Collis, who had kept in touch with Turner and tried to help him get on his feet, said his former player was hoping to get some sort of retirement from the NFL.
He said: ‘He was a marvelous kid. I loved that kid.
‘He called me a couple times and I didn’t get back to him. I wish I had now.’
Turner’s brother, Moses Turner, Jr., said his brother was a humble man who focused on using his time in the NFL to care for his family back in Kern County.
When David Turner was inducted into the Bakersfield College hall of fame, there were many people there to honor him that Moses Turner had never met.
But that was, he said, the kind of person David Turner was — he brought people together and kept his family together.
David Turner’s nephew, Kevin Turner, said his uncle was an inspiration.
“He was the backbone of our family. He was our knight in shining armor,’ Kevin said.
‘When I heard the news I was in shock. I didn’t have a word to say.”