Local News

Sheriff's Office: Man Stabbed Wilson County Deputy With Box Cutter

Posted July 7, 2007
Updated July 8, 2007

— A Wilson County Sheriff’s deputy answering a domestic violence call was stabbed with a box cutter Saturday while entering a house, sheriff’s officials said.

A suspect was arrested and charged with first-degree attempted murder.

The sheriff's office said it would not release the deputy's name until his teenage daughter had been notified, and it continued to withhold that information Sunday.

The department did say the deputy came out of surgery at Wilson Medical Center about 6 p.m. Saturday and was released around lunchtime Sunday.

Officials charged Jimmy Allen Pennell, 35, with stabbing the deputy in the left side of his rib cage as the deputy entered the house at 5200 White Oak Loop Road. The deputy's stab wound was 8 inches long and 1½ inches deep, authorities said.

Sheriff Wayne Gay said the deputy has been with the sheriff’s office at least 12 years. He was a police officer prior to that.

He and another deputy met Pennell’s wife at an Eagle Food Mart after she told a store clerk her husband had attacked her.

Juanita Mercer was working the counter at Eagle Food Mart when she saw the woman.

“She was standing there, and she was, like, her husband had taken a whole bunch of pills and was trying to kill her. She had got in the car and brought her children down here with her,” Mercer said. “She was real scared, real scared. She was scared for her life.”

Mercer called 911.

The two deputies arrived and accompanied the woman to her house.

The deputies knocked on the door and ordered Pennell to come outside, but he refused. They finally entered the house, and the deputy was wounded, officials said.

The second deputy tried to enter the house, and Pennell tried to close the door to keep him out, according to the official account. The deputy forced the door open and subdued Pennell.

Despite being wounded, the first deputy took out his handcuffs and helped arrest Pennell, officials said.

After the struggle was over, the deputy realized how badly he was hurt. He was then rushed to the hospital, where he was expected to stay overnight, officials said.

Pennell was arrested and taken to the Wilson County Sheriff's Office. He was charged with first-degree attempted murder, malicious assault in secret, assault with a deadly weapon on a government official with the intent to kill, resisting a public officer and assault on a female.

Pennell was held on $3 million bond.

Gay said he was at the coast when he heard about his deputy’s injury, and he decided to come home.

“This is a very close-knit organization,” Gay said. “When something like this happens, we take it very serious. He’s very lucky. It’s bad. The doctors said it was bad. He’s lucky that it was not fatal.”


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  • Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Jul 9, 2007

    "A lot of officers use the Raleigh academy and initial training to jump into SBI, FBI, and large department jobs."
    Do you have any evidence to back up this statement? Raleigh PD is considered a large department in NC, and I seriously doubt that "a lot" of Raleigh PD officers are leaving to go to the FBI and SBI.

  • Steve Crisp Jul 9, 2007

    Each state would have on-site ancilliary court units so that any appeals could be heard under the jurisdiction of the specific states where the inmates are from. The feds would not only have their own court system for the same purpose, but could consolidate their criminal appeals courts in one place as well.

    Visitation would be limited to closed circuit television so that family members could stay in their respective home states, but stll communicate with their family in prison.

    With this model, we could literally shut down most of the prisons in America. Or use them for only local misdemeanor violators who will be spending less than one year or so in the prison system. Local jail construction would cease since they could easily overflow into the now empty prison space, using it for violent detainees until trial. Non-violent ones stay in local jails which would now not be overcrowded.

    The bottom line is that once convicted, the prisoner becomes the issue of the prison complex.

  • Steve Crisp Jul 9, 2007

    I've always been a fan of a state cooporative prison system. Here's how it works:

    You take a whole bunch of land in the middle of the country, say Oklahoma. Then you literally build a city that revolves around a complex of prisons. Those prisons would contain a variety of levels of security and prisoner programs. The max would be just that -- complete lockdown with no privileges. Then you would have other prison areas that provide rehab, skills training, psychological support, and education. There would be work units where inmates could learn trades. It would be a self-contained city with all the things that go along with a major urban area like health services, dental, and the like.

    You would get tremendous economies of scale, huge bang for the buck. It would be far less expensive to maintain and keep secure. And any inmate who did happen to excape would do so into the middle of nowhere, not a civilian urban area. Because in this urban area. al the residents work for the prison.

  • Steve Crisp Jul 9, 2007

    If Raleigh does not do something about low pay very quickly, we are going to see our department turning into a rent-a-cop organization or something more akin to glorified security guards. I suspect that in 10 years, without substantial increases in starting pay, grade pay, and the institution of merit pay, the Raleigh Police Department will greatly resemble the stereotypical image of the southern Sheriff's department of the 1950s. They will just be better dressed and have cooler equipment. And to accomplish that, we are going to need to elect officials who care more about the citizens of Raleigh than they do trees, greenways, and the carbon output of motor vehicles.

  • thepeopleschamp Jul 9, 2007

    Steve, there is one more possible reason for the higher number of officer deaths (and assaults) in NC. Lack of prison space. Couple that with the fact that there is an a growing population of thugs in NC. Look how the juvenile crime rate has skyrocketed in recent years. And what is NC's solution? To raise the juv age from 16 to 18. There is already a lack of prison space, if the juv age is rasied to 18 hardly any juv will ever serve time because there is VERY little juv lock up space. County jails can overcrwod when they have to, but if a juv facility holds 75 inmates, thats it, they can not take in another body.

  • Steve Crisp Jul 9, 2007

    To Jake Wilstar:

    Hence our problem.

    When inquities such as policemen's pay get too out of line with expectations, you end up with the loss of the middle ground. For instance:

    In the teaching profession, and with the increasing violence in schools as well as the overburdening social engineering, those who are becoming teachers are either the best and brightest who are completely dedicated to their jobs, or the bottom of the barrel who can not do anything else. There is a vastly shrinking middle ground of competent people who do their jobs well, but are not stellar.

    The same thing is happening with the military -- the middle is missing.

    And I'm afraid that it is going to also happen to police departments all over as it has with a lot already. You're already seeing it in Raleigh. A lot of officers use the Raleigh academy and initial training to jump into SBI, FBI, and large department jobs. We are having trouble retaining them because of pay.

  • Jake Wildstar Jul 9, 2007

    It's sad, these guys risk their lives everyday, and are SO underpaid. We should be thankful that there are people still willing to work in law enforcement.

  • none123 Jul 9, 2007

    Steve. Thanks for clarifying.

  • Steve Crisp Jul 9, 2007

    To dick (appropriate name there):

    I do not teach, but rather than deride me, why not show your brilliance by disproving what I say. It sure would make for more interesting reading.

    To sick of thugs:

    Perhaps I should have clarified. The oficer was in grave danger during the event, but afterwards, his wound proved to be non-fatal. Some folks were acting like it was otherwise.

    And to magic:

    I bait no one. There is a significant difference between Usenet of the 1990s and WRAL boards today. Usenet was heavy with Nazis of whom I took great pleasure in tweaking until their heads exploded from anger. Usenet, but its very structure, invited crosspost trolling. And Usenet was, for the most part, a bunch of college students whose minds were still a pile of mush; easy targets to confuse and whipsaw while watching them sputter.

    And I like to engage in theoretical discussion concerning public policy, many of them brought up by stories such as these.

  • none123 Jul 9, 2007

    Yep. It is a double standard.