For years, Gregory Turner ran his own handyman business, fixing up old houses around Minneapolis for resale.
He also made sure that his friends and family were working and had food to eat, say those who knew him.
“He was well known through the neighborhood. He did a lot for a lot of people. He fed a lot of people,” said Omar Brown, a longtime friend who also worked for Turner.
On March 22, Turner had spent the day with his work crew, painting his two-story duplex in the 1400 block of N. 17th Avenue, the Near North neighborhood.
Nick Bradley recalled how he, Turner and another of his employees, Daniel Cartin, had been working in the upstairs unit that day, with the front door open to air out the paint fumes. At some point, Bradley said he heard the downstairs neighbor starting up the stairs and looked down to see her, visibly shaking and her face covered in blood. The suspect was standing behind her, wearing a black ski-mask and holding a sawed-off shotgun, he recalled.
“And then all of a sudden, he pushed past her and started running up the steps,” Bradley said.
He said he turned and yelled for the others to hide, just as the gunman barged into the unit and demanded money and drugs. Crouching down to conceal his phone from the gunman, Bradley said the suspect told him to think twice about calling 911 and struck him with the butt of the gun.
Turner, 52, was walking over to try to “deescalate” the situation when he was shot, according to Cantin and Bradley. As Turner lay dying, the gunman leaned over and took some money from his pockets, before fleeing.
Bradley rushed over and started wrapping Turner in a tarp to try to stem the bleeding until help arrived, he said. Paramedics pronounced Turner dead at the scene.
Both men said Thursday they were still rattled by the experience.
"It's horrible, it's horrible,” Cantin said. “It's the worst when I'm alone, because I was cleaning out a basement a couple days ago and I was thinking, um, someone's about to come around the corner with a gun — it's terrifying."
About a week after the shooting, Brown said the reality of the situation was still sinking in.
He had been working for Turner — who went by “G-Money” or “Sippi” — for a few years, and the two men had become friends.
Since moving to the Twin Cities from Natchez, Miss., Turner had a history that included multiple felony drug convictions, but in recent years he focused on his various business ventures, friends say. In addition to the home repair company, he ran a food truck and owned a number of mobile homes in Mississippi that he rented out, Brown said.
While working for Turner, Brown said he was struck by his generosity and willingness to help people get back on their feet. He had recently promised to give Brown a truck fitted with a snowplow so he could make extra money during the winter months, when work was otherwise slow.
He was always giving out second chances, “employing people who had records, who had felonies, who couldn’t get a job,” said Brown, speaking via video chat last week. “Everybody has had their problems or whatever, all of us have our faults and everything, but he was generally a good man.”
Joanna Lauber, another friend, nodded in agreement: “People knew him, people loved him — he was just a nice guy,” she said.
“I just want people to remember his smile and his generosity and how he genuinely cared about people,” Brown said.