CARBONDALE - Michael Turnbull's friends and former classmates were looking forward to this weekend according to officials at Santa Fe Trail High School in rural Carbondale. Now, they will never forget the weekend, but for the wrong reasons.
Turnbull, 18, a former football player and wrestler at the Osage County school, was shot to death Thursday night while he exercised at Universal Nautilus health club in Wichita. A suspect has heen apprenhended in connection with the shooting, according to Wichita police.
"It's ironic that it happened this weekend," said assistant high school principal Bruce Cook. "The state high school tournament is going on down in Wichita this weekend. Some of our kids were, going down there and stay in his apartment in Wichita. They were really looking forward to renewing acquaintances and seeing people they haven't seen in a while."
Von Stein who coached Turnbull during his four year football career at the school, said Friday that Turnbull of rural Carbondale was "a good, solid young man" who planned a career in auto mechanics.
According to the coach, Turnbull moved to Wichita last fall and enrolled in the Wichita Automotive Institute.
"He was hard working, dependable, and never complained," recalled the coach. "He got along with well with others and was just pleasant to be around."
Cook said Turnbull, a May 1986 graduate, excelled in both football and wrestling at SFT. He received letters in both sports, Cook said.
"He was pretty active as far as athletics was concerned," Cook said. "He was a pretty average kind of kid. He was very outgoing, courteous and friendly. He had a lot of friends."
Cook said Turnbull was an above average student in the classroom who could best be described as "an over achiever" when it came to athletics.
"He didn't always get to play as much as he wanted in football, but he stuck it out and tried very hard." Cook said. "He got where he was in wrestling because be worked at it."
Von Stein, who spent much of the day Friday answering media inquiries, said a lot of the students at the high school seemed "sort of stunned" by the incident.
"They are not knowing what to say." Von Stein said. "I've seen them standing around in groups of two or three just talking quietly."
Cook said although most of the students had already heard about the shooting before they arrived at school Friday, school officials were trying to provide as much information and support as they could.
"For most of them this is the first time they have had to deal with a death," he said. "We read an anouncement to the students and we observed a moment or two of silence in the high school."
Turnbull's obituary appears on page 28.
The Topeka Capital-Journal
Saturday, February 28, 1987, p. 11
This story is goes with the story at Osage County youth killed in shootings (1987).