St. Charles school board president tackles, disarms gunman

Updated 5/4/2016 9:51 PM

The president of the St. Charles School Board tackled and detained a neighbor who is accused of firing several shots at his injured wife outside their home Tuesday.

The neighbor, a 65-year-old man named Scott Turnya, was charged late Wednesday with attempted murder, aggravated domestic battery and two counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm.


Steve Spurling, president of the Community Unit District 303 School Board, said he doesn't consider himself a hero and he was just acting to protect the woman and Spurling's wife, with whom he was out walking his dog.

"We were just trying to calm people down, get them separated and all of a sudden the shooting started," Spurling said Wednesday.

No one was hit in shooting; police have removed the gun.

According to a news release from the St. Charles Police Wednesday night, at around 6:26 p.m. Tuesday Turnya was having an argument with his wife over financial matters in their home on the 400 block of Hunt Club Dr. in St. Charles. Turnya threatened to kill her. She tried to call police, but he knocked the phone out of her hands. He then pushed her down, sat on her chest and started punching her in her head and upper body. He let her up and went towards a cabinet where his wife knew a handgun was stored. His wife ran out of the house through the garage.

According to Spurling, he was on a walk at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday with his wife and dog. Spurling said he saw a woman -- who turned out to be Turnya's wife -- running out of a garage with her cut, welted and bloodied.

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The fleeing woman fell down hard on the driveway, and the Spurlings went to help her up. The woman's husband was behind her, trying to get her to come back into the home, while she was yelling that her husband had beat her and had a gun.

The gun was not immediately visible, Spurling recalled.

The injured woman eventually walked down the sidewalk with Spurling's wife as he took out his phone to call 911.

Steve Spurling heard the first of several shots, looked up and saw Turnya pointing a brushed nickel-colored handgun at the women. Spurling then tackled Turnya from behind.

"I heard a shot and looked up," Spurling said, estimating Turnya fired four shots. "I just tackled him and threw the gun to the ground so it was out of the way. A couple neighbors said it might have been five (shots fired)."


Police recovered Turnya's five-shot revolver and five spent shell casings from the scene.

Spurling held Turnya to the ground until police arrived. After searching the premises, police found 26 firearms and around 3,000 rounds of ammunition. Turnya did not have a valid Firearm Owner Identification card, according to the news release.

Turnya's wife was rushed to Delnor Hospital in Geneva with extensive injuries. The news release states St. Charles Police do not have any history of domestic related calls at the Turnya house.

Turnya's bond will be set Thursday.

• Daily Herald staff writer Doug T. Graham contributed to this report

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