Deserae Turner — a hero at 14

Friday , April 21, 2017 - 4:30 AM


Deserae Turner, you’re a hero — a 14-year-old hero.

You’re a hero because you didn’t die in that drainage ditch near Logan.

You’re a hero because you fought for every breath in the hospital.

You’re a hero because you showed up at a news conference Thursday in Salt Lake City, two months after suffering a gunshot wound to the head, and you made it clear to your assailants who’s boss.

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"I told my dad that I'm tougher than a bullet,” you said.

And so you are.

Prosecutors say two 16-year-old boys lured you to a secluded spot in your hometown of Smithfield. According to police, they wanted to kill you because you’d been texting one of them.

Originally, they planned to slit your throat, police say. But when one of the boys couldn’t go through with it, he took a gun from beneath his brother’s mattress and shot you in the back of the head.

Now they face charges of attempted aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and obstruction of justice. Prosecutors want to try them as adults.

A court will decide their fate. But your fate was up to you and your doctors.

You prevailed.

When you spoke to the media Thursday, you arrived in a wheelchair, wearing a brace on your left leg.

You also wore a smile. For good reason — you were finally going home.

You thanked your doctors and therapists for their care. You thanked people for their prayers, expressing amazement that people as far away as the Netherlands sent you messages of hope.

Then you made it clear you were ready to start making up for lost time, starting with the animals you hadn’t seen in two months.

Especially your horse, Junior.

"I'm super excited to see him and ride him again," you said.

Nobody should go through what you did, Deserae. Especially not at 14.

But you showed showed courage. You showed strength.

And that makes you a hero.

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