Suzanna Simpson, 35, loving mother and PTA leader, has admitted to gunning down her two young children and severely wounding her husband early Tuesday, May 14, in Dacusville, Pickens County, South Carolina.
Here’s what you need to know about the alleged killer mom.
1. She Said She “Shot My Whole Family”
“OK, OK, I shot my whole family,” Simpson allegedly told an EMS worker. The tragedy occurred in the early morning of May 14, when both children were reported to have been found dead in their beds. It isn’t known if they were asleep at the time of the shooting. Her husband, Michael, 35, also was shot but survived. It isn’t known where in the house the husband was found.
2. She Attempted to Flee the Scene
Police were first alerted to the tragedy when neighbor, Tim O’Connor, heard a loud bang. He went out of his home to see Suzanna Simpson in her family’s pick-up truck, which was lying partially submerged in a ditch. O’Connor told Greenville Online:
I had just got out of bed, I was sitting there watching TV and drinking my coffee, and I heard boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.
At first it sounded like whenever somebody’s dumping a dumpster. And then it kept going on
An EMS worker responding to the scene of the crash heard Simpson say “OK, OK, I shot my whole family.”
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3. She Wanted to Commit Suicide but “Couldn’t Do It”
Once she was moved to Greenville Hospital, Simpson told authorities that she planned to kill herself after shooting her family. Simpson told police she had tried to turn the gun on herself prior to her flee attempt but couldn’t pull the trigger. Allegedly she told a nurse:
…[I] tried to shoot myself several times but I couldn’t do it.
She apparently had no trouble killing her children, but when it came to her own life she had second thoughts.
4. Up Until the Killings, She Was a Model Parent
A Pickens County Schools representative, John Eby, told WTOC:
If you were to ask anybody at the school about her yesterday they would have said she is a role model parent. That’s another reason why this is such a shock.
She was an active member of the PTA.
5. It’s a Death Penalty Case
Because this tragedy involves the deaths of children under 11 as well as multiple homicides, it’s likely that prosecutors will seek the death penalty. This was confirmed to Greenville Online by Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins.
6. The Community is in Shock
James Brown, who has lived in the community for 74 years, told Greenville Online:
I might see the lady come to the mailbox, but I couldn’t say I really know them very good, used to, you knew everybody who lived in every house everywhere. But now everybody works, you just don’t socialize like you did 50 years ago.
He also added that recently the area had fallen victim to a spate of burglaries.
Glen Abbot, who moved into the neighborhood around the same time as the Simpsons, added:
They were a typical, ordinary middle-class family, worked hard, I never dreamed that would be even possible. Lot of tears and a lot of prayers, praying for Michael to pull through.
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7. Carly Has Been Described as “Sweetness Defined”
A statement from the Pickens County School Board read:
School district staff and students are mourning the loss of Carly and Sawyer Simpson, who died Tuesday morning. Both children were students at Dacusville Elementary School.
Dacusville Elementary is deeply saddened by the loss of two of our children, Carly and Sawyer Simpson. Both students were very special to the faculty, staff, and children of our school. Carly had a beautiful smile that brightened everyone’s day. Sawyer’s excitement for learning was contagious. Our heartfelt condolences go to the family.
Nancy Zeigler, Carly’s first grade teacher, added:
She was a very smart little girl who loved to help her fellow classmates. She was a leader in the classroom and loved by all … sweetness defined.
Jama Freeman, Sawyer Simpson’s teacher, described him as:
…enthusiastic, adventurous and creative. He loved to build with Lego’s. We will miss Sawyer’s smile in our classroom.
8. Police Had Never Been Called to the Home Before
Live5News.com reports Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark saying there had been no call-outs to the house or reports of domestic violence, he added:
There are many unanswered questions in this case today. However, some of the facts of this case will not be revealed until we reach the courtroom.
9. Many Details Around the Case Will Not Be Released
Simpson has been charged with was charged with two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of possession of a weapon during a violent crime. Local sheriff Rick Clark has said that his officers are committed to bring the guilty party to justice and that many of the details of the case would not be released until trial due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Clark went on to say:
No matter how tough a cop you are, no matter how many people you have prosecuted — doesn’t matter who you are, when kids are involved it’s a whole different situation. It has gotten to us today.
10. In 2011 Another Woman in Pickens County Mother Killed Her Two Sons
Two years ago, Susan Hendricks, 49, also from Pickens County, killed her two adult sons, Matthew and Marshall, her step-mother, Linda Ann Burns, and ex-husband, Mark Hendricks, in an elaborate murder to gain control of insurance money. She staged the deaths to look like a murder suicide between the rest of her family.
On April 26, 2013, Hendricks pleaded guilty but also claimed she was insane.
In 2006, Hendricks also shot and killed, Doyle ‘Brian’ Teague, in her home after it was ruled he came in unannounced and the act was ruled “self-defense.”