Last Sunday, not that many hours after his son had been killed in the mass shooting in the Oregon District that left nine dead and over 30 injured, a shaken Mike Turner came to the downtown entertainment district to see first-hand the place where his son, Logan, had died outside of Ned Peppers Bar.
When he finally departed, he left behind a photo of Logan in his No. 78 Springboro High football jersey – a picture from his senior season in 2007 — taped to the wrought iron fence post just to the left of the door leading into the bar.
>> REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS: Honoring the memories of the 9 people who lost their lives
A pink-covered Bible – which had two photos of a young Logan partially tucked into the pages – was propped against a door where other people were beginning to leave remembrances in what has now become a large memorial to the victims.
Just four days before he was killed, Logan Turner had turned 30. He was celebrating that milestone with some buddies in the Oregon District last Saturday night.
In his young life, Logan had been many things.
He was a beloved son, a loving boyfriend, a Sinclair College grad and a valued and popular worker at Campioni’s Pizza, then The Whiskey Barrel and now as a machinist at Thaler Machine Company in Springboro.
But at the memorial he’s remembered for his football days at Springboro.
Listed as 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds as a senior, he was the starting right tackle on a team that won the Greater Western Ohio Conference (GWOC) South title.
Later, he came back and helped coach the Panthers’ freshman team.
This week the Springboro football team has been going through two-a-day drills and Logan’s death and the stories of carnage and heartbreak and heroism from the Oregon District that have come with it have especially hit the Panthers players and coaches.
“Every afternoon we have some sort of leadership training or team meeting,” veteran head coach Ryan Wilhite said Thursday afternoon. “We’ve talked about Logan and just today we were saying how he had sat in the very same chairs they were sitting in now.
“We talked about how he always committed himself. How he valued whatever role he had to play, whether it was on the offensive line, in the classroom or in the jobs he had in the community.
“If you ask any of the coaches from back then, the things they’ll say about Logan – that he was committed, caring, dedicated, hardworking – are the same thing teachers who had him in class will say.”
During the discussion of the Oregon District shootings, Wilhite also brought up the heroism of Ned Peppers’ bouncer Jeremy Ganger.
He showed the team an interview Ganger did with ABC Nightly News and then read them a Dayton Daily News story about him.
As the killer Connor Betts – dressed in tactical gear and firing a modified AR-15 like weapon — was waging his deadly rampage along Fifth Street, Ganger ushered scores of people from the street and sidewalk through the front door of Ned Peppers.
Then he stood his ground at the front door and vowed to do everything in his power to keep the people inside safe and not let Betts get in.
He had ended up face to face with the killer when the Dayton police shot Betts dead. As the assailant crumpled to the sidewalk, Ganger disarmed him.
“He said his only reason for doing it was ‘It was my job, I wasn’t trying to be a hero,’” Wilhite said. He said, ‘My job, to hold the door and make sure all my co-workers and the patrons were safe.’”
As the players listened, Wilhite said, “Every kid had chills.”
The coach said he then turned that into a team lesson: “We asked the players what their role on the team was. ‘Did they see it as significant or insignificant?’ Because, if you don’t see it as important, you likely won’t be up to the challenge when you’re called on.”
Since Logan’s death, Wilhite said media outlets from around the nation – including ABC Nightly News, CNN and the Washington Post – have called for interviews.
But he had been instructed by administrators to pass the requests on to the school media person who released a prepared statement.
“They didn’t want me to be on camera and have people turn it into a political thing about gun violence while I was representing the school,” he said. “They wanted the conversation to be about Logan and my relationship with him.”
Remembering a leader
So this was Wilhite’s first interview and he had plenty to say about Logan Turner:
“My first year at Springboro was 2006 and Logan was a junior on the JV team. I’d describe him as the typical big kid who’s just trying to grow into his body. But he really worked in the offseason and his senior year he was a starter and a very good player for us. He had a confidence about him and was a leader.”
He said that same ability showed itself time and again since high school, especially now as he was becoming a rising star at Thaler Machine:
“I have no doubt if he were still around, one day he’d be one of the guys running that place.”
A lot of people in Springboro saw those same traits. It’s why the town is so shaken by his death and why, as of Friday afternoon – just three days into a GoFundMe campaign started for Logan’s family by his old Panthers teammate, Josh Ballard – 284 people had donated $18,665 on the GoFundMe page, exceeding the goal of $15,000.
Along with the money came the memories.
“I remember Logan best from his middle school years when he was buddies with my son Jonathon and came over to our house a lot,” one person wrote. “He used to really like our hot dogs and years later, after the boys had long graduated from SHS and lost touch, we would still mention Logan’s name when we ate hot dogs. This will never change.”
And Emily Groleski wrote: “Some people just have an indescribable innate talent for making people laugh with seemingly no effort whatsoever. Everyone who knew Logan knew he could do this to anyone. He was gravity with a pureness to him. And he deserved better.”
‘Love you, Baby. Good night’
Last Saturday night as he enjoyed himself with his buddies Logan sent a text to Molly Hinton, his new girlfriend with whom, by all accounts, he was deeply in love.
She told a Cincinnati TV station that his last words were “Love you, Baby. Good night.”
Four hours later he was lying on Fifth Street as two women bystanders performed CPR in a frantic, but futile effort to save his life.
One of the women, Holly Redman – who works for Mad River Schools and had run over from Newcom’s Tavern – tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Logan’s family has invited her to join them at the funeral Saturday.
The 10 a.m. service is at Anderson Funeral home (40 N. Main St. in Springboro) and burial will be at Miami Valley Memorial Gardens. A Celebration of Life will follow at The Barrel (formerly The Whiskey Barrel) where Logan once was a popular bartender.
Wilhite said the Springboro football team likely will wear No. 78 decals on their helmets this season to honor Logan.
“He will forever be part of the history of this event in our community,” Wilhite said quietly before shaking his head.
“But at the end of the day he’s gone too soon. This didn’t need to happen.”
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