Marine: I was assaulted, burned at Spring River

HARDY, Ark. – What was supposed to be a weekend with friends on the river became a brutal assault involving racial epithets, several assailants and severe burns on the victim, according to a viral Facebook post.

Kyzyl Tenpenny, of Woodson, Ark., told the horrifying story on his Facebook profile. The young man, who graduated in 2012 and joined the Marines in 2013 according to his Facebook profile, wrote on Monday he could not keep quiet and his story must be told.

In the post, which has been shared nearly 5,000 times, Tenpenny said he was invited to Spring River for the Independence Day weekend.

“Honestly, I was so excited to go because not only was I invited by my Marine brothers, but when this event was described, it simply sounded fun,” Tenpenny wrote.Some fellow Marines left a day early but Tenpenny waited on another friend who was unable to leave until Friday. They arrived at the campsite on Spring River, the post describes, and unloaded the car, set up a tent and greeted the other Marines.

Tenpenny and another Marine he rode with were the only two black men there, the post said, but with the group playing a beer pong tournament and having fun, it did not seem to matter.

“This was when everything seemed to go downhill,” Tenpenny wrote.

A white male changed the dynamic of the evening, according to the post, by getting on top of the beer pong table and walking down it “like a drunk maniac.” The Marines told the man to get down because he was interfering with the game but the drunken man approached the Marines in a hostile manner.

Tenpenny tried slipping in between the two, saying, “Aye bro, we not trying to have any trouble. We just trying to have a good time.” But others in the area became less than welcoming, shouting to “get out” of the area.

The young Marines agreed to leave and Tenpenny even said, “We are not trying to cause any trouble.” Unfortunately, the trouble would be caused by someone else.


“Two seconds later, a man came behind me and placed me in a choke hold and dragged me to a different location,” Tenpenny wrote. “During the relocation, several people (males & females) partook in punching and kicking me, striking me continually with hard blows as if I was a punching bag.”

However, the situation got even worse. According to Tenpenny, some in the group said, “I’m going to get you, nigga,” and “Hell yeah, you will learn.”

“I was still being choked to the point of almost passing out,” Tenpenny said. “I was somehow on my stomach and it seemed like I was in a game of football. I was literally being dog pounded by what it seem like everyone at the site. The impact of the dog-pound forced the guy who was choking me to release me.”

Dizzy and disoriented, Tenpenny staggered and ran for about 20 meters, meeting two fellow Marines, one black and the other white. However, the group did not stop their assault, the post describes.

Burns from the fire

“Shortly, the crowd returned again someone grabbed me and tussled me to the ground,” Tenpenny described. “They proceeded to kick me into a burning campfire. I started hollering, ‘I’m in the fire! I’m in the fire!’ Every time I proceeded to get up, I was kicked right back in the fire. I then realized that they were not trying to get the best of me but they were truly trying to hurt me. Death ran across my mind and everything. At this point I was fearful for my life.”

As the terror pierced Tenpenny’s heart, he managed to get away for a second time and get back to the Marines. He said the first person he called was his coach, who told him to calm down and get to his vehicle. Once he called his family, they, too, told him to get out of there and to call the police.

Sadly, Tenpenny was afraid to reach out to the police.

“I can’t call the police because I’m scared to know what that police officer would do to cover the his people,” Tenpenny wrote.

NEA Report contacted Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts, who said he had spoken with the victim, Tenpenny, but had determined the incident took place in Fulton County. Counts said Fulton County authorities were investigating the matter.

While it was a harrowing ordeal for Tenpenny, he was thankful to get away with his life intact, considering the terror he felt as a mob attacked him without remorse.

“Thank God I managed to get out of there,” Tenpenny wrote. “One thing I want you all to know: racism is real. I feel as if I, and that black Marine, were immediately targeted. It is absolutely heartbreaking to know that God’s creations would have so much hatred over the color of one’s skin.”

(Photo Source: All photos taken from Kyzyl Tenpenny’s Facebook profile. All images were public as of the publication)

Read the next update on this story here.


    • My son and nephew were there and saw this fight. It wasn’t about race it was just some rednecks fighting some marines, but supirsingly the rednecks won. My son is 15 and my nephew is 16 so they didn’t join in the fight. However when they told us about it there wasnt a race issue.

      • Just a coincidence huh, for it to be two black males and the use of the “N” word not by them but those of the Caucasian race… For a white person to say “we’re gonna get you nigga..” doesn’t sound racist at all huh??!!!……. Oh ok.

      • surprisingly the rednecks won? Yeah man, come up behind with a sucker punch. Pretty sure i can win a lot of fights like that. Im the corpsman for these marines, and i GUARANTEE you that if i was there that i would killed all these trailer trash rednecks. If you assault MY MARINES get ready because you better kill me.

      • Race or not Sounds different when it is somone else sounds like bullying and ganging up from more than one maybe if it had been you might see it differently

  1. He posted these pics of himself about 2 weeks after he claimed this happened. He also posted a pic of himself on July 4th, just a day or 2 after he claims he was assaulted. He sure healed up fast, because there’s nothing in the July 4th pic that shows any signs of being assaulted.

  2. This is horrible… I pray that he heals and that the people who did it God deals with them the way they need to be dealt with.. thank you for serving our country..

  3. I am so sorry that you went through this and was attacked by a bunch of trailer trash. I’m from a little town about 40 miles from Spring River and camped there myself back in my younger days. It makes me ashamed to say that I’m from there when seeing this. Thank you sir for your service…Please don’t let them build any hatred in your heart. People like that are the scum of the earth.

  4. I was a vendor at this event, and not once did I hear or see anything like this happen. I also watched the beer pong game, never saw a man get on the table. Also, my boyfriend attended this event with me. He’s in the National Guard, and numerous people THANKED him for his service, never beat him up. I’m sorry, but I’m having a very hard time believing this ever happened.

  5. I personally know this young man and he is very respectful. I hate this has happen to him. I pray that God will punish EVERY person that’s involved. Yes racism is very real! I’m praying for a speedy recovery.

    • It’s bad when he’s out ther putting his life on the line shooting and fighting the bad to save our families . When we have to watch our backs because people like these wrong turn in breeder’s are getting away with disrespecting our protector .pray for one thing that we here America as a black american We want peace by any means necessary no more ropes hanging from trees no more hiding in the night from white sheets, no more

  6. I suggest they do time at a prison near Little Rock…perhaps in a wing of the prison containing Crips and Bloods…both males and females taking part in this need to be imprisoned. It is JERKS and INBRED morons like this that give all of Arkansas citizens a bad name. Please Mr. Tennpenny, do not judge us all by a few. I, for one, am a grateful citizen who appreciates your service to our country. Semper Fi Marine. I will pray that you heal quickly, both physically and emotionally.

  7. I find this hard to believe! Another person just crying out for attention! According to his story he was the ONLY one that was beat up! If the other black guy was why didn’t he come forward? Why didn’t the other marines help him if they were friends? If a “mob” attacked him, pretty sure he would be worse off, not just some burns and swelled up face. Just like any young person who goes to the river he probably just got into a drunken fight, happens all the time! This whole story does not add up, and I’m so tired and of people playing the victim. There are black people on the river all the time and yet this only happened to him? Not even the other black person he came with?!?!?! Why would he call a coach? Seriously before doing a story on this make sure it’s true!!!! This is why this country is where it’s at today!

  8. I really hate that this has happen . I have lived here my entire life , and unfortunately this is sick that people would do this . Hardy is a wonderful place , but during “summer” we get tourist and they usually camp at a local camp ground . The father up toward mammoth you go the crazier it gets. And it’s ridiculous adults act this way. No sense in it . And they come up here get trashy and act stupid and do things like this . And right now they probably have no shame or ache among them for this action and it’s very disturbing that adults act this way. Horrible ! Hardy is a very happy cheerful welcoming place and you get people that do stupid stuff like this and it makes us look bad .

  9. I live within 4 miles of that place and has become a sorce of income for the local police. The only reason Foulton County don’t have off duty working down there. They set and wait for the drunks try to drive out. Impound cars and arrest ppl as they leave. Brings a lot of income to the city. Fights and even ppl been shot at Many Islands. Not a safe place to be for anyone. I have never let my kids go down there.

    As former military myself I would like to think you for your service. And get well son don’t let the actions of these few represent the great vast of good people in Arkansas. It’s a shame and disappointment that people can’t be civilized and treat people the way they want treated.

  10. I am from the area, and while I am horrified at this story, I am sadly not too surprised. I am so sorry for what this young man endured. I hope he finds healing, justice, and peace.

  11. Reblogged this on Just wheat and commented:
    To Mr. Tenpenny, I would like to apologize on behalf of those in the Ozarks. How embarrassing and what a misrepresentation of the people who live here. Please know that we are thankful for your service in the Marines, proud of your choice to speak up against injustice and violence, and praying for justice in not only your case but in the entire nation and for all humanity.

  12. This is a HATE CRIME & needs 2 be prosecuted as such! These kinds of racist acts have got to stop! We, as a nation, have got to put an end 2 such ignorant behavior. And for the police 2 have done nothing? No wonder this young man was somewhat fearful of even going 2 the police! Fulton & Sharp county investigators need 2 do their job & find these bigots, male & female, and prosecute them 2 the fullest extent of the law! Our black brothers & sisters should not be made 2 feel afraid 2 go 2 the police seeking justice when such crimes take place. What’s sad is that I had 2 say ‘when’…these types of crimes should NEVER take place in the first place! I’m tired of so much hatred! Isn’t anyone else? Because it’s going 2 take ALL of us 2 change this bigoted way of thinking & 2 stand up for what’s right & say “Enough is Enough”…thank God I raised my children 2 love equally. We are ALL on this planet TOGETHER & I simply do not understand such hate & disdain for others based simply on the color of their skin! And thank God my parents raised me in the very same fashion.

  13. I am white and I am so sorry this happened to you. It’s inexcusable. We are not all like that. Unfortunately you’ll find assholes in every Creed and race I am glad you had Marine brothers with you. My son is a Marine. I raised our children that color doesn’t matter. Unfortunately many do not. Semper Fi sir. Thank you for your service to our country. God bless you. I hope those who did this to you are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

  14. I have lived in this area most of my life, it took the spring river area longer than most to leave the raciest era because no blacks lived any where close. It is human nature to fear what you don’t know and the only thing people knew was what they read in the paper and seen on the news. We know what that was! Mark 1 up for the media, they have added fuel to the fire.I live in this area, I feel I am a good representation of the people of this area. I do not hate blacks. I used to be cautious around them because of what I had seen and read but I did not hate them. I was cautious the same way I might be of an un-known single male in close proximity to me or my family, white or black. I worked away from Hardy for a time and had the opportunity to be around families of black people and found they were just like me. I made friends and ran around with several black and half black people, I never gave it a second thought. We did the same things I had done with my white friends back home. (they could dance way better than me). With all this being said; the man that got on the beer pong table was DRUNK. That’s what they do when they are drunk. The get center stage and become “beligernant” a coined phrase from my bar room days.It did not start out as a racist attack it was a drunk doing what drunks do at camp grounds……What happened then? The marines defended their game and tried to get the drunk out of the way, that too is what white people do, it became a bar room brawl without the bar room, a lot of people jumped in. The “N” word was used the same as the “P” word, “B” word or any other derogatory word or name calling might have been used. If you are around drunks that get out of control this will happen every time. Make it about race if it will further your cause, if so then you are the problem. Until you change this will be in the media for ever and young children will be watching and forming a wrong opinion.Does something need to be done? I can not control everyone else so I just make my own decisions, there are plenty of places to camp on spring river where people are required to behave and just have fun. Beer pong? All fun and games till someone gets an eye poked out. Just my opinion.

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