Bryan Eugene Sweatt, 27, has been named as the deceased gunman and hostage-taker behind a horrific mass murder-suicide in Greenwood, South Carolina, that left two children and four adults dead.
Police responded to a 911 call at 5:54 p.m. on Tuesday evening 2007 Callison Highway. A man called cops and said he was contemplating hurting himself.
Cops arrived, followed by a SWAT team. After two hours of unsuccessful attempts to communicate with anyone inside, at 7:34 p.m., SWAT officers entered the home and discovered the deceased victims, in various rooms, bound in duct tape.
Here’s what you should know about Sweatt and his role in this tragedy.
1. Sweatt Lay in Wait for His Victims
According to a press conference conducted by Greenwood County Sheriff Tony Davis (above), police believe Sweatt lay in wait in the empty home of Richard and Melissa Fields, the parents of Chandra Fields, who was the mother of Sweatt’s baby daughter.
The adults were away at work and visiting relatives, and the kids were in school.
As they came home, sometime between 4 and 6 p.m., Sweatt bound his victims with duct tape and, in unknown order, executed both parents, Chandra, and Chandra’s two nephews, Tariq Robinson, 11, and William Robinson, 9, before turning the gun on himself. The weapon was a high-caliber handgun that was not registered to him.
Meanwhile, at some point four additional children — the suspect’s baby daughter, another child of his girlfriend, and two neighbors’ children — had been spared and told to get away from the house. They ran to a neighbor’s home — with one child carrying the baby — and reported a shot fired and a hostage situation, which resulted in a second 911 call to police.
According to the sheriff, wounds to the victims were as follows:
• Richard Fields, 51: 2 gunshot wounds to upper body
• Melissa Fields, 49: 3 gunshot wounds
• Chandra Marie Fields, 26: 1 gunshot to head
• Tariq Robinson, 11: 1 gunshot wound to head
• William Robinson, 9: 2 gunshot wounds to head
• Suspect, 27: 1 self-inflicted wound to the head
Chandra and Sweatt were found together in the den. The grandparents were in another room. And the boys were together in a third room.
2. There Was a Bitter Custody Dispute
The sheriff confirmed that Chandra and Sweatt were in the midst of a custody dispute over their 7-month-old daughter, and it’s believed this was a motive in the killings.
Police had previously been called out to domestic disputes between the two.
County court records show a civil case involving Chandra Marie Fields as the plaintiff and Sweatt as the defendant:
3. Sweatt Was Facing Hard Jail Time & Failed to Show for Court on the Day of the Killing
Sweatt was due in court on the day of the killings and was facing “significant time,” up to 30 years in jail, for a recent burglary charge. He was out on bond.
The rest of his criminal record lists larceny, theft, forgery as well as dozens of traffic related offenses and probation violations.
Sheriff Davis noted that there was “nothing in [Sweatt’s] prior record that would indicate something of this magnitude.”
4. Cops Released Sweatt’s Chilling 911 Call
Above, via WISTV, is a recording of the 911 call Sweatt made on the evening of the massacre. He sounds eerily calm, though he’s “about to take my life.” Click to listen.
Below is the chilling transcript.
Sweatt: “I need an officer to 2007 Callison Highway.”
Operator: “What’s wrong?”
Sweatt: “Oh, I’m just stressed out and I’m about to take my life. I mean…”
Operator: “What’s your name?”
Sweatt: “It’s unknown.”
Operator: “Do you have a weapon with you?”
Operator: “Do you have a weapon with you?”
Operator: “What do you have, sir?”
Sweatt: “A .44”
[Sweatt tells someone to “get in there.”]
[Victim says “Don’t point that at me.”]
Operator: “What’s going on?”
Dispatch received a second 911 call, about two minutes later, from a neighbor’s house.
The 911 tape from the Greenwood Murder-suicide…chilling hearing a 4yr old describe Bryan w/ a gun. Says victims were tied up w/ duct tape
— Brianna Smith (@bsmithnews) October 30, 2013
The woman making the second call reported that the four children who were turned away from the house by Sweatt said he had tied his victims with duct tape. The children said they had heard one shot and witnessed blood on the doorway.
5. His Recent Facebook Posts Showed a Man at His Wit’s End
In the wake of the tragedy, friends and family are still honoring Sweatt’s memory on Facebook, calling him a great guy, despite what he is accused of doing.