‘The loss is incomprehensible’: Florence officials release statements after death of city employee in random assault

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Courtesy: City of Florence via family

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Florence officials have expressed their condolences after the death of a Florence City employee as the result of a random assault.

Penny Phillips, 49, of Johnsonville died at a hospital Monday night due to multiple sharp force injuries.

Around 10:09 a.m. Monday, Florence police responded to the area of 801 Clement Street and the Northwest Park Community Center to calls of an assault with a knife, according to police.

Police took Jawan Kavorie Crittenden, 18, into custody in the 700 block of Habitat Lane around 5 p.m. Monday, police said. Crittenden has been charged with murder and possession of a deadly weapon during a violent crime.

Florence Mayor Teresa Myers Ervin said the Florence community will need a moment to heal before moving forward.

“When I met Ms. Phillips, I was greeted with an infectious smile and excitement. She expressed a desire to impact our community and had many aspirations to make change happen,” Ervin said. “In her spirit, we will strive to continue her mission, but for a moment we will pause to heal as a family and a community.”

Florence City Manager Randy Osterman said city employees are taking necessary steps required for healing following the tragic loss.

“The loss of Ms. Phillips is incomprehensible,” Osterman said. “Our employees are the most valuable part of our organization. To lose an employee is to lose a member of our family. Our organization grieves with the entire Phillips family. Those who have worked closely with Ms. Phillips are still coping with this tragic loss. This senseless act has left our staff with a tremendous amount of guilt and helplessness. Our employee base and community will be forever impacted by her loss and the events of that tragic day.”

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