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Parent charged after alleged party involving alcohol, weapon

RAYLAND — A parent who Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies allege was part of the party ended up behind bars Saturday on charges of aggravated menacing, child endangerment and having weapons while intoxicated.

Travis Turkal, 42, of 341 Township Road 1172, Rayland, is the owner of the property where deputies said they were told some 200 teens, many of them underage, converged for a party Saturday, their numbers inflated after word spread across social media.

Deputies learned of the gathering around 4 a.m. Saturday when they were called to Trinity Medical Center West, where one of the party-goers was being treated for head injuries after alleging he had been pistol-whipped. Friends who brought him to the emergency department told deputies “there may have been around 200 people at the party” after the address “went out over social media.”

The property was located on a dead-end “and fairly isolated, with only one house close by,” deputies said. No one had called authorities.

Deputies said a 16-year-old girl told deputies she had been punched in the nose “intentionally” by a larger male from Wheeling when she tried to help break up one of the fights that had broken out, and a McMechen male was taken to Wheeling Hospital with cuts to his face and head caused when he had been struck by a broken bottle.

The four teens who drove the male who said he had been pistol-whipped to the hospital said it happened “just before the party was broken up by (Turkal),” the deputy wrote in his lengthy report, adding the teens told him “multiple fights among multiple people broke out near the end of the party. “They believe there may have been as many as 15 individual fights occurring.”

They told deputies Turkal was present throughout the party and, shortly before it broke up, came out of his house wielding a shotgun and “fired into the air two or three times while (among) the crowd of people.” Two of them claim they heard him yell, ‘Who wants this?’ while another alleges he heard him say, “I will blast any of you (expletive.)”

All of them claim they saw Turkal waving the gun around, pointing it into the crowd and at their vehicles, and said the party-goers ran to their cars and fled, deputies related.

Once at the scene, deputies reported finding “countless alcoholic beverage cans, bottles and boxes scattered in the fields and along the 450-foot approach to the home,” along with other trash from the party, lawn furniture on the roof and two spent shotgun shells in the front yard. A few cars were still parked in fields near the home, and while deputies waited for Turkal to make his way to the front door they said they saw “numerous alcohol containers scattered throughout the home.” They also reported a man arrived to pick up his 15-year-old granddaughter whose mother had allowed her to spend the night at the house.

Turkal told deputies he knew his 17-year-old son was going to have a party but hadn’t been home for most of it. He said he and his girlfriend returned home around 2 a.m. to find it had grown to “an unreasonable size,” initially telling deputies he told the guests they needed to leave, before later saying he walked around trying to gather car keys “which caused them all to run to their vehicles.”

He denied any firearms were displayed or shots were fired during the party and agreed to let deputies search the house.

Turkal was “adamant he had not come home until it was all over, adding the fights had not even started until after he had gone to bed,” deputies noted, but subsequently said the fights had started “when he attempted to take people’s car keys.”

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