Anson Co. deputies on leave after deadly shootout

ANSON COUNTY, N.C. — A Chesterfield County man is dead, and two Anson County sheriff's deputies are on leave after they shot and killed him at a boat landing on a secluded lake.

Linda Jones, 53, told Channel 9 exclusively that she'd been camping at Blewett Falls Lake in Anson County since Saturday. She was with her boyfriend, 40-year-old Dennis Penny, and the two of them were fasting for a week for the Passover.

She said she'd never gone without food for so long, and drank a Mountain Dew after three days. She said Penny became angry, choked her, punched her in the mouth and threatened to kill her.

"I was scared. He said he was going to leave me there," Jones said. “I should have left, but I didn't. I was just trying to be a good girlfriend, and just do everything he asked me to do.”

She called a friend, who called 911 and asked Anson County deputies to go to the lake and check on Jones. When deputies arrived, one went to the tent site and stayed with Jones; two others, Josh Martin and Kyle Beam, confronted Penny.

The State Bureau of Investigation said it happened in a parking lot at the lake's main boat landing. That landing is about 100 yards from the campsite where the couple was staying.

Jones said she tried to tell the deputy that Penny was dangerous.

“I told them he had a gun, and to be careful," she said.

The SBI said Penny exchanged gunfire with deputies Martin and Beam, and the deputies shot him. He died at Carolinas Medical Center–Main in Charlotte early Thursday morning. The two deputies were not injured.

At this point, investigators are not saying how many shots were fired, where Penny was hit or what kind of gun he had. Two guns were recovered at the scene, and are being sent off for testing.

It's not clear exactly how Penny threatened deputies with the weapon, or whether drugs or alcohol were involved.

Anson County Sheriff Landric Reid told Channel 9 that he backs his two officers, and believes they acted properly and according to their training during the situation.

Martin has two years of experience in law enforcement, and Beam has 15 years experience, Reid said.

When Channel 9 news crew found Jones, she was still shaken. After being interviewed by SBI agents, she stayed at the campsite on the lake by herself. A friend who was supposed to come help her pack up and return home to Pineridge, South Carolina, did not show up.

She didn't see the confrontation between officers and her boyfriend, but did hear the shots.

“I don't know. I just know bullets started flying everywhere," she said.

Jones said she'd been seeing Penny for five months. He was from Mount Croghan in Chesterfield County.

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