Girlfriend of slain man reacts after Beloit police officers cleared of wrongdoing

Local News

BELOIT, Wis. (WTVO) — Three Beloit officers involved in a deadly shooting in December won’t face any charges, the Rock County District Attorney said at a briefing on Friday.

Authorities say 23-year-old Montay Penning, who was shot and killed on December 10th, pointed a gun at officers and ignored multiple commands to drop the weapon.

The investigation showed that a Rock County Deputy tried to conduct a traffic stop on Penning, who was suspected of stealing a car that morning.

Three Beloit officers joined the chase after Penning got out of the car and ran.

He was chased to the backyard of a house on Harrison Avenue, where officers can be heard on body cam footage telling Penning to drop his weapon, which was confirmed by multiple witnesses.

All three officers fired a total of 22 rounds at Penning, who was hit three times.

“The wounds to Mr. Penning’s left arm were consistent with the fact that Mr. Penning had his left arm extended toward police officers,” said District Attorney David O’Leary said Friday. “The wound entered the back left wrist area, exited the front left wrist area. The evidence…showed that when Mr. Penning fell to the ground, he still had the gun in his right hand.”

O’Leary said Officer John McMahon, Sgt. Ryan Flanagan, and Det. Nathan Adams acted lawfully in using deadly force against Penning.

After the investigation, officials realized there was no ammunition in Penning’s gun, but Beloit Police Chief David Zibolski said the weapon was forensically linked to several other violent crimes.

Penning’s minister, Michael Bell, and his girlfriend, Juanita Vance-Jenkins, were among those who came to the Janesville courtroom looking for answers.

Vance-Jenkins said she couldn’t believe what she heard.

“I was shocked. I didn’t think I was going to find all that out. I didn’t think Montay did that,” she said.

The results of the investigation linked the gun to eight other shooting incidents in the City of Beloit.

Zibolski says there is still work to be done on those cases.

“Aside from knowing that this was an obvious progression of violent crime that was occurring in our city involving this firearm, and potentially, Mr. Penning and others, we can’t provide further details,” he said.

Zibolski said the Beloit Police Department is planning to hold meetings throughout the year to educate people on what police officers expect in similar situations, to prevent future deaths.

“This is an extremely tragic incident, and one that could have been prevented,” he said. “And that’s why we really encourage people to come to these community meetings.”

Bell said he’s optimistic that community members and law enforcement can find a common ground.

“When things happen like this, it just sort of sets the community back, from the saddened hearts,” he said. ” But, I hope we can get past this, and work together, even with the police department.”

Vance-Jenkins says it’s hard to move on.

“They’re going to get away with murdering somebody. What closure am I going to get out of that? None. It’s not going to bring him back. His daughter is still without a father. It just hurts. There is no closure from this at all. There’s not,” she said.

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