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I have a question about the pattern "turn <something> on <somebody>" here:

Then he allegedly turned the body-building equipment on his 44 year-old wife, identified by sources as Feng Liang, and his elderly mother-in-law, Feng Kun Zaehng,77, the sources said.

I understand the phrase "*turn the gun on <somebody>", am not sure about "turn the equipment on <somebody>". Could the example be wrong?

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  • Equipment in this case is not inherent to the meaning of turn on; look at it as turn something on in which that something is the body-building equipment. Nov 8, 2014 at 4:07

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It's just the same meaning as "turned the gun on his 44-year old wife" except he was using a barbell.

He was using gym equipment as a weapon, bludgeoning his son, his wife and his mother-in-law with a barbell. Had he used a more regular weapon the sentence would be immediately clear to you because 'turned the gun on...' and 'turned the knife on...'are much more common phrases to read.

It seems that he also had a knife, which he then turned on himself, in an attempt to commit suicide after carrying out the assaults.

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Although there are other uses for "turn on ," the meaning is as you guessed. Although it literally demonstrates that he turned to his wife and threatened her with the barbell, it also implies in this sentence that he used the barbell to harm or kill her. Further context would be required to know if my inference (harm/kill) is correct, but I feel it's highly likely.

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