Henrico man says he saved woman’s life by using truck to block bullets

Posted at 11:17 PM, Apr 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-17 23:17:08-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Quick thinking on Louis Penn's part may have saved the lives of two family members and two others in a Henrico parking lot Monday morning when a barrage of bullets was suddenly unleashed.

As an ice cream truck rolled by Wednesday, the sounds that typically accompany summer weather in Henrico's West End presented a stark contrast to the half-minute of horror that played out in the parking lot two days earlier.

"The window was down and all I heard right here was the sound of bullets,” said Penn, showing where he was at that moment.

A phone call between Michael Short and his daughter triggered an argument on Eunice Court in Henrico's London Town apartment complex.

Louis Penn, a family member, says he then got a call from Short's daughter asking for help.  "He had used foul language, so then she called me because she was worried about getting her daughter to safety," Penn said.

Crime Insider sources confirm Short got into a confrontation with Penn inside the apartment after that phone call.

Also inside, was Short's granddaughter.

Once she made it outside, sources tell me Short pulled out a gun and started shooting. That’s when Penn says his instincts kicked in once he had made it back to his SUV.

"My gut instinct told me to back up my truck so it could take the bullets because my truck is pretty big," said Penn.

Two bullets pierced the side of his Chevy Tahoe, and another came through an open window and whizzed by his ear. Penn says it was then that he remembered what his granddad used to always tell him.

"You should die a man instead of living like a coward," said Penn.

There were no fatalities and in fact, no one was even hit.  Penn’s actions possibly saved the lives of two of his family members, as well as those of a woman walking through the parking lot and a landscaper working nearby.

"I've had dreams that I die an old man and a great grandfather, and thanks to my guardian angel my Aunt Shelby, I knew I was covered," said Penn.

Michael Short remains at the Henrico Jail with no bond.  He is facing more than a dozen serious charges.