PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - Thursday afternoon, the sheriff in Pasco County told reporters a 21-year-old man went out of his way to purposely run over a Vietnam Veteran because “he wanted to kill someone.”
Sheriff Chris Nocco discussed the case Friday following the arrest of Justyn Pennell for first-degree premeditated homicide.
The sheriff said around 2:30pm Thursday in Hudson, Pennell was running errands in his PT Cruiser when he pulled a U-turn at the intersection of Aripeka Road and Old Dixie Highway and sped up to hit the 75-year-old man as he was walking, killing the veteran.
The sheriff said Pennell told detectives that he targeted the man as he saw him walking with his stick because “he wanted to kill someone” and had been planning to do so for several months.
“He purposely runs him over,” Sheriff Nocco said. “This man is absolutely evil.”
Pennell’s vehicle was damaged in the crash and broke down and he ended up calling 911. The sheriff says he confessed what he did to the dispatcher.
Sheriff Nocco says Pennell, who has no prior arrests, was not believed to be under the influence at the time of the crash. Though an arrest has been made, the sheriff’s office is still asking witnesses to come forward and call with any information.