There are some cases that we hear of that remind us that there is pure evil in this world. This is one of those times.
Florida – A Florida man is in jail for purposely running over a 75-year-old pedestrian in his vehicle.
21-year-old Justyn Pennell allegedly told investigators he had been planning to kill someone for several months.
Reports show Pennell called 911 after the crash. Not to call for help, but because he had hit an electric pole and couldn’t go anywhere. Detectives say that’s when he admitted to dispatch that he purposely ran over a man and could see the terror in the pedestrian’s eyes.
“There are some cases that we hear of that absolutely, even for us in law enforcement, make us just realize and remind us that there is pure evil in this world,” said Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco. “And because of pure evil that happened yesterday, there is a 75-year-old man who is a father, a grandfather, a Vietnam war Army veteran who was killed.”
Investigators say Pennell had no connection to the man. He is now being charged with premeditated murder. Pennell says he saw the man while he was running errands.
Police say he drove by the man, and then made a U-turn so he could hit him.
He did not appear to be under the influence at the time.
“The suspect tells us later on that while he’s driving there at this victim, he can see the look of fright on that victim’s face. He can see that fear, he can see that emotion of, ‘Oh, my gosh — this person’s about to hit me,’” Nocco said.
An arrest report says Pennell told investigators that he was smiling and laughing as he hit the man. Nocco said Pennell’s car was so heavily damaged by the impact that it broke down nearby as he drove away from the scene.
That car trouble is reportedly what led Pennell to call 911.
“I give credit to the dispatcher in the county 911 center. She actually gets a confession out of him on tape,” the sheriff said.
Investigators said Pennell had no trouble answering their questions and didn’t appear to be under the influence.
“The only thing he really told us at this time was that he had planned this for several months, that he wanted to kill somebody, and on that day, he decided to leave his home with the intent to run over and kill them,” said Sgt. Michael Rosa with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit.
The Sheriff’s Office is not identifying the victim, but Nocco said he was a father, grandfather, and veteran.
Nocco is asking for the public’s help with the investigation. A witness reported seeing cars pull over after the attack and possibly take pictures of the scene. The sheriff would like those people to contact his office.
“If you were out there and you saw something, we just want to talk to you. We just want to find out what happened, what you saw,” he said.
While it appears that the victim’s veteran status was not known by his killer, it doesn’t diminish just how tragic this attack was.
Other people have gone after veterans recently, possibly with no knowledge of the fact that the individual served.
In Harris County, Texas, a group of several suspects decided to rob a local gun store when they met the 79-year-old owner in the commission of it. Authorities reported that the gun store owner exchanged fire with the suspects, striking and killing one of them.
Sheriff’s deputies stated that the robbery took place at around 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning this past week near the 2000 block of Kennings.
The gun shop owner, who was described as a military veteran, said that he heard a commotion outside as he lives on the property where the gun shop is located.
Upon stepping out, he saw several individuals who had chained a vehicle to the front door of his gun shop and then saw the suspects yank the door off its hinges.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez stated that at least one of the suspects involved with removing the shop door had entered the store, when moments later one of the suspects had noticed the 79-year-old owner and immediately began shooting at him.
The owner returned fire, hitting one of the suspects before they all got away in the vehicle.
Approximately 10 minutes after the exchange of gunfire, a man in his late 20’s was found dead on the 3800 block of Morelos, about seven miles away from the robbery.
Deputies had discovered the body on the roadway, not far from an abandoned vehicle with its car doors open.
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When investigators began reviewing the scene of the discovered body, it was determined that the man was one of the suspects involved with the robbery at the gun store.
The individual was found to have died as a result of a gunshot wound, stemming from the exchange from the gun shop owner. At the scene of the body, investigators also recovered two pistols near the man believed to have been stolen in the commission of the robbery.
From what Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has shared so far on the case, two other suspects were also apprehended nearby the scene and were arrested in connection with the robbery. The case is currently being referred over to a grand jury.
The gun shop owner stated that this was the second time that his store has been looted, with the first instance happening back in just November of 2019.
Locals within the community appear to be quite familiar with the owner, and the response online to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez’s Facebook post about the incident shows a mixture of support for the owner as well as remarking on how incredibly dumb it is to rob a gun store.
Cindy Willis replied on the Facebook post detailing the status of the investigation with:
“It takes a special kind of stupid to rob a gun shop in our town.”
While another local, Mike Kercher, was familiar with the previous robbery and stated:
“This shop was burglarized a few weeks ago…these losers came back for round two…they chose poorly!”
It’s hard not to agree with the sentiment that robbing a gun store has to be one of the dumbest moves a criminal can make. Then again, we live in an age where people created an event online to storm a highly classified United States Air Force facility in Nevada.
Even if the storm Area 51 event was done jest, it also serves as an example at the kind of mentality present today.
While the alleged robbers involved in this case haven’t had their identities revealed by authorities, the deceased suspect is going to make for a strong contender in the 2020 Darwin Awards.
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