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911 tapes reveal horror of Greenwood, S.C., murder-suicide

October 31, 2013|By Michael Muskal

It was just before dinnertime, about 6 p.m. when Bryan Sweatt called the emergency operator in Greenwood, S.C., a rural town once known for its textile mills. He told the woman who answered the 911 call that he was stressed out.

A woman is heard crying in the background of the emergency recording released by the sheriff’s office. The operator asks Sweatt whether he has a gun.

“A .44,” Sweat is heard answering and then the telephone line goes dead.

According to authorities, Sweatt broke into his girlfriend’s parents' home in Greenwood, a community of some 23,000 people, where he shot and killed five people, including two children, before committing suicide.

Sweatt waited for the girlfriend’s parents to return home and then shot Richard Fields, 51, and his wife Melissa, 49. Sweatt also killed his girlfriend, Chandra Fields, 26, and two of the Fieldses' grandchildren, William Robinson, 9, and Tariq Robinson, 11, who were living in the house. Then Sweatt turned his weapon on himself.

“Once you see a horrific scene like this it never leaves you. It's with you day in and day out,” Greenwood County Sheriff Tony Davis told reporters.

Davis wouldn’t specifically discuss a motive but said the murder-suicide was a “domestic violence situation.”

Sweatt was fighting with Chandra Fields over their 7-month-old daughter. Sweatt, who faced a burglary charge that could have put him behind bars for years, complained that he could not visit with the child enough, officials said.

Richard Fields had warned Sweatt to stay away from his house, family and even the dirt track Sweatt had built in the backyard for his all-terrain vehicles.

It is unknown exactly when the murders took place, but there is a woman’s voice clearly speaking on the first call released. She sounds like she is saying: “Do not point that at me,” according to the calls emailed to reporters.

Four children were allowed to escape the scene of the slaughter. Sweatt’s 7-month-old daughter was spared as was the infant's cousin and two neighborhood children who apparently had come to the house after school to play with the Robinson boys.

No one knows why Sweatt let them live but shot the others. “I cannot tell you at this point that I have all the answers for you,” Davis said.

After the first 911 call, police responded. The children had made it home to a neighbor’s house and a woman called authorities to say the kids reported shots had been fired in the house from which they had fled.

“I just got four kids at my door and they said somebody just killed their momma,” the woman is heard telling the dispatcher on another released recording.

When the operator asks what happened, a child is heard trying to enact the scene. A girl is heard saying, “Bryan had a gun with him.”

The neighbor tries to soothe the child, but the girl continues: “He took my mama in the back of the room.”

“You just take care of those children for us,” the dispatcher then tells the woman.

After about an hour and several unsuccessful attempts by officers to make contact with anyone in the home, a SWAT team entered the house and discovered the bodies.


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