3 Caught In Case In Which Shot Was Fired At DEA Agent; Spree Also Included Knocking Elderly Woman To The Ground And Stealing Her Purse

Saturday, August 31, 2013
Robert Penn III
Robert Penn III

All three suspects from the incident in which three individuals broke into a vehicle belonging to a DEA agent and then fired a shot at him are in custody.  

Chattanooga Police arrested one juvenile and two adults earlier Saturday.

Robert Penn III was charged with robbery, burglary of an auto and theft over $1,000.  Penn also had outstanding warrants for aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary and two counts of theft.  

Thomas Lee Ellis was also arrested and charged with burglary of an auto and theft over $1,000.

In an incident Thursday, Chattanooga Police said they responded to a shots fired called and found the DEA agent, who said he had just been shot at. He said he was at his home in East Brainerd with his wife asleep when his wife heard the front door knob being jiggled.

The agent said he went outside and saw three black males in his driveway. He said he identified himself as police and the trio ran to a small, reddish-colored SUV. As they left the scene, one of the suspects fired at him.

The DEA agent was able to get the tag number on the vehicle. The red 2005 Ford Escape was reported stolen from East Ridge.

Upon returning to his house, the agent found that his work vehicle had been broken into. The suspects had busted out the passenger side window with a large cinder block they had picked up behind the house. He found that the suspects had taken several bags of his police equipment.

Also on Thursday, Officer Jamie Riddle spotted the stolen Ford Escape on Rogers Road. He turned around, but the SUV went around a red Ford Camry and sped off. The Camry swerved repeatedly so that the officer was not able to get around to catch up to the Escape.

The Camry stopped at 400 Sequoia Dr. A black male fled the vehicle and was captured about a block away a short time later. He was found to be a juvenile. The Camry was also found to be stolen.

The Ford Escape was later found wrecked and abandoned at Tunnel Boulevard and Germantown Road.

Some of the agent's belongings were inside, and some were also in the Camry.

Additional items belonging to the agent were found in a dumpster in East Ridge. Officers found still more of the agent's items in a storage unit on Bonny Oaks Drive that was registered to Darlene Bradley of 1304 S. Lyerly St. There were also several suspected stolen items in the unit.

Police said fingerprints of Penn, Ellis and the juvenile were found on the Ford Escape. 

Ellis was located at 5206 Usher Dr. Police said he admitted breaking into the agent's vehicle and taking items from it.

Penn was located at the Southside Recreation Center on 40th Street. All questioning was stopped after he asked for a lawyer.

Police said on Thursday prior to the incident with the agent, Penn was driving the SUV and the juvenile was behind him in the Camry. Penn stopped the SUV on Anita Drive and had the juvenile stop behind him.  

Police said Penn pointed toward an elderly woman walking from her mail box. Penn exited the SUV and acted as a lookout, while the juvenile knocked the woman to the ground and stole her purse.

Penn and the juveniles then got back into the stolen vehicles and took off.

An officer spotted them leaving the scene of that robbery. He tried to catch up with them, but they were driving recklessly at a high rate of speed and got away from the officer. That was when Penn wrecked the SUV.




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