Marine: I was assaulted, burned at Spring River

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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.

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