A Florida woman has died after she was intentionally run over, in front of her own home, as she defended her son against a group of teenagers, officials said. Suzette Penton, 52, a librarian in Polk City, was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to the injuries she sustained from the Nov. 9 incident, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
Four teens, including the alleged driver of the vehicle, 18-year-old Elijah Stansell, were arrested in connection to the incident. Stansell has been charged with first-degree murder, upgraded from attempted murder. A 16-year-old, 15-year-old and 14-year-old were charged as adults with attempted felony murder and burglary with assault. They are being held at the juvenile dorm at the Polk County Jail, according to a police statement.
An arrest affidavit said that after she was run over with a van, Penton was left with a traumatic brain injury and several broken bones, CBS News reported.
The suspects allegedly fled the scene but their vehicle was located shortly after by responding officers, officials said. During the investigation, investigators learned that Stansell brought three friends to Penton's house to “handle” an ongoing dispute between the teens and Penton's son, according to the police statement.
Sheriff Grady Judd spoke at a news conference on Tuesday and said that at this time, Stansell was the only person being charged directly with Penton's killing.
“He is the one who was driving the vehicle and he is the one that ran over and feloniously murdered a lady that was doing nothing but trying to gather photographs of suspects who attacked her child at their home," Judd said.
Judd said that Penton's son used to date Stansell's current girlfriend, who he said instigated the conflict, CBS News reported.
Judd said that the teens attacked the woman's son. Penton then went outside to confront them, and to take pictures of their van to show to police before she was mowed down, the news outlet reported.
"They purposely and intentionally ran her over and critically injured her," said Polk County Sheriff's spokeswoman Carrie Horstman. "They had ample opportunity and space to get out of that area as she stood there in the street to take pictures of them to give to law enforcement. Instead, they ran her down in the road."