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DA given preliminary info in Jones County deputy shooting probe

By Doug Myers, Digital Media Manager, dmyers@ktxs.com
Published On: May 21 2014 10:13:35 AM CDT
Updated On: May 21 2014 11:28:34 AM CDT
Stephanie Renee Fenner

Stephanie Renee Fenner, 26, of Hawley.

ABILENE, Texas -

A preliminary investigation into a Jones County deputy’s arrest and law enforcement’s handling of it has been completed and handed over to the Taylor County District Attorney’s Office.

That’s according to Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge, referring to the case of 26-year-old Stephanie Renee Fenner.

Last month, Fenner was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Her arrest came three days after she allegedly fired three shots at two people in a pickup, including a woman who was in a “dating relationship with Fenner,” Abilene police have said.

"We are still waiting for forensic evaluations to be conducted, whereupon those findings will also be given to the DA,” Standridge told KTXS News in an email.

Some have questioned whether Abilene police acted appropriately in the Fenner case because she wasn’t arrested until three days after the incident. Fenner’s father is a former Abilene police officer.

Standridge declined to disclose whether administrative action had been taken against anyone at the Abilene Police Department. 

“A full administrative review of these matters has already been completed,” Standridge said. “As a matter of city policy, I cannot comment on any internal actions taken.”

No one was injured in the incident that occurred about 11 p.m. Friday, April 25 – at a 7-Eleven convenience store – near the intersection of Old Anson Road and North Clack Street.

Previously, during a news conference on the case, Standrige said: “There is no cover up. We are trying to be as transparent as possible.”

At that time, Standridge said officers didn’t know Fenner had allegedly committed an aggravated assault on Friday, April 25, and weren’t made aware of it until Saturday, April 26. That’s when the investigation kicked off, Standridge has said.

Apparently Fenner and two others had been drinking at a North Abilene residence. Fenner was being driven home when she jumped out of the vehicle at an intersection and started firing at the truck. 

Standridge previously said an unidentified officer found Fenner walking along Old Anson, apparently intoxicated, and attempted to detain her. According to police, Fenner charged the officer, who then used a TASER to take her to the ground. She was then handcuffed.

After being detained, Fenner underwent a mental health evaluation at the Law Enforcement Center, Standridge has said. She was determined to not be suicidal. Her father – the retired Abilene police officer – and mother asked that she be released to them instead of being booked into jail. An APD supervisor granted the request, Standridge has said.

Standridge previously said they didn’t see a gun on Fenner and instead were concerned about Fenner’s mental health because she was believed to be suicidal, so charges weren’t filed immediately.

It wasn't until 12:31 p.m. Saturday, April 26, that one of the victims contacted a dispatch officer with APD. That's when a "day officer" kicked off the investigation. He contacted the department's Criminal Investigation Division, whose detectives gathered enough probable cause evidence to arrest Fenner on Monday night, April 28, at the Jones County Sheriff's Department.

Standridge has acknowledged his officers should have gone back to question the clerk, in hindsight, and that may have led to the questioning of the two victims after last month's incident.

Standridge confirmed Fenner's handgun was found in the possession of an unidentified Jones County resident. He has declined to disclose who it was with and how the handgun ended up there.

After being booked, Fenner was released from jail after posting $35,000 bail.

Fenner is on administrative leave from the Jones County Sheriff’s Office.