The teenage dispute was “romantic in nature”, police say.
A Florida mom who was run over while protecting her teenage son from bullies has died, according to police.
Suzette Penton, 52, suffered a traumatic brain injury and several broken bones when a group of teens intentionally drove over her in a van on November 9, investigators said.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the beloved city librarian had passed away from her injuries on Wednesday, 16 days after the attack.
The four teens allegedly involved — Elijah Stansell, 18, Raven Sutton, 16; Kimberly Stone, 15, and Hannah Eubank, 14 — had all been charged with attempted murder; on Tuesday charges against Stansell, the alleged driver, were upgraded to first degree murder.
According to deputies, the incident stemmed from a “romantic entanglement” involving Stansell and his girlfriend Stone; Stone had allegedly threatened to “hit” Penton’s son on social media, and have her boyfriend “handle it”.
Arrest affidavits claim the four arrived at the victim’s home in a black van; while Stone remained in the vehicle the other three banged on the front door of the house.
Penton’s son came out through a side door and through the carport to see what the commotion was, then Stansell allegedly attacked him. He retreated into the house, but Stansell and Sutton followed and continued to attack him, investigators said.
At that point Penton intervened, and the suspects fled to their van.
“Suzette Penton followed them and watched them get into their van, which was parked across the street,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “She began taking photos of the suspects and the van with her cell phone.”
“Though there was enough room for the van to maneuver around her as she stood in the roadway, Stansell intentionally ran into her, then over her, before fleeing the scene.”
Security footage obtained by ClickOrlando shows the alleged attack inside the home, as well as the moment Penton is run over by the van.
“There were several eyewitnesses to the crime, along with home surveillance videos,” the investigators claim. “The video footage shows the suspect approaching the front door, the group of suspects going around to the side and attacking the victim, the attack inside the home, the suspects fleeing, and the suspects running over the victim’s mother.”
“This was a coordinated, planned attack, carried out by a group of teens who beat up a teen then ran over his mother, leaving her for dead,” Sheriff Grady Judd added.
“I can’t even fathom teenagers doing something so heinous. Our prayers are with this family.”