MPD officers nab armed suspect

Published 9:01 am Thursday, November 20, 2014

MURFREESBORO – Police officers never know the danger that lurks on any given day.

Saturday was a prime example of that fact.

Following a vehicle and foot chase, two Murfreesboro Police officers were able to apprehend an armed suspect who was alleged to be peddling illegal drugs.

Renard L. Fennel, 33 of Walnut Street, Woodland, was arrested and charged with three felonies – speed to elude arrest, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of cocaine. He also faces four misdemeanor charges – resisting a police officer, hit-and-run, reckless driving, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Fennel was placed in the Hertford County Detention Center under a $55,000 bond.

It was later determined that the firearm Fennel’s possession – a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistol – was stolen seven months ago in the Murfreesboro area. Additional charges are pending in that crime.

Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe said that a call came in at 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 in reference to subjects in the South Drive area of town who were allegedly selling drugs.

“Upon arrival in that area, (MPD) Auxiliary Officer Harrison Revelle observed a vehicle, a Chevrolet Tahoe, matching the description given by our dispatcher,” Rowe said. “Officer Revelle performed a routine traffic stop of that vehicle and as he was exiting his patrol car, the suspect vehicle fled the scene.”

Revelle gave chase in his vehicle, joined by fellow MPD Auxiliary Officer Jimmy Barmer.

Rowe said the suspect vehicle traveled through the backyards of several apartments along South Drive in an effort to avoid the police.

“The suspect vehicle eventually made its way back to the point where the original traffic stop was made,” Rowe noted. “At that time, the driver, later identified as Mr. Fennel, exited the vehicle, but left it in gear with a passenger inside. The vehicle then crashed into an unoccupied parked car.”

Revelle pursued the driver on foot as he ran towards an apartment.

“Officer Revelle ordered him to stop and to get on the ground,” Rowe said. “At that time the suspect appeared to be fumbling with an object in the mid-section of his body. A few seconds later, Officer Barmer arrived and both he and Officer Revelle were able to take the subject into custody.”

Rowe said the handgun along with seven grams of what is believed to be powder cocaine was found on the ground adjacent to where Fennel was arrested.

The Police Chief added that the passenger in the vehicle – Sherwin Tann Jr. – was not charged with anything related to the chase. However, a check into his background showed an outstanding order of arrest by the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office.

Rowe was thankful that his officers as well as Fennel were not involved in any use of deadly force.

“At any given moment of an officer’s shift, a situation can arise that can become deadly,” Rowe stated. “This case had that potential and my officers, like any law enforcement official, are trained to make split second decisions.

“They had their weapons drawn in this case because their training led them to believe that the suspect they were chasing was armed, and they were correct. They handled this case by the book and in a professional manner,” Rowe added.

Rowe also wanted to thank the citizens of Murfreesboro for contacting the police when they witness suspicious activity.

“The end result we got from this case – an arrest and the recovery of a stolen handgun – is what happens when a citizen becomes involved to the point where they want to do something about preventing crime in their neighborhood. By contacting us, we are able to help them make their neighborhoods safer.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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