GREENWOOD, S.C. – Six are dead following the desperate act of a shooter who took his own life on Tuesday afternoon. The motive seems to stems from a domestic dispute over the shooter and his girlfriend’s young daughter and other instances involving the girlfriend’s family.
Bryan Sweatt and Chandra Fields (26) were in a heated custody fight over their 7-month old daughter. On top of that, Sweatt was looking at being put away for some time on a burglary charge.
As a precaution, Field’s father, Richard Fields (51) warned Sweatt to stay away from the family home in rural South Carolina. Sweatt had built a dirt track on the family’s property for his ATVs.
The shootings occurred after Sweatt, having broken into the family home, waited for them to return. When they entered the home, Sweatt shot and killed his Chandra Fields, Richard Fields, her mother Melissa Fields (49), and the elder Fields’ grandchildren—William Robinson (9) and Tariq Robinson (11).
According to Greenwood County Sheriff Tony Davis, Bryan Sweatt allowed for his and Chandra’s child to leave with three other children before turning the gun on himself.
While the sheriff didn’t give a concrete motive at the time, he said that Sweatt felt that he wasn’t seeing his 7-year old daughter regularly enough and blamed Chandra. Sometime prior to killing himself, Sweatt contacted 911 while inside the Fields household. He stated that he was close to snapping and considering suicide before hanging up.
The call was placed just before 6PM at 5:54PM Eastern. According to a police report, the dispatched heard a woman on the end say “Do not point that at me” before the call ended. It’s unknown in who were killed prior to the call if any.
Bryan Sweatt and Chandra Fields
Sweatt’s Criminal Background
With a detailed criminal background on record that dates back almost ten years, most of Sweatt’s charges seemed to be burglaries and forgeries. There are also a few aggravated assault charges. On the day of the killings, he missed a court hearing on a burglary charge where he was looking at up to 30 years.
A woman filed a complaint on July 6, 2012 about Sweatt threatening suicide. The woman also stated that she feared him, but no charges were filed.
Sweatt’s Background With Richard Fields
According to neighbors, Richard Fields allowed Sweatt to store ATV on the property a few months ago. In the backyard was a track for his vehicles. One neighbor, Jeff Hicks, said that originally there was no problem, but then strangers began riding ATVs all night.
The neighbor said that Fields had eventually became “just fed up,” with the noise from the vehicles going on at all times and was going to request that Sweatt stop hanging around the property.
Hicks last saw Fields earlier that morning. “It’s a shame. It just tears you up. I waved to him, and now I’ll never see him again. That’s how short life is.” Hicks would later show an AP reporter the shed that held several all-terrain vehicles while children’s toys were outside the shed.
Sheriff Davis noted that another reason Sweatt was banned from the house was that Fields believed that property was stolen from him.
Law enforcement headed to the property after Sweatt’s call to dispatch. They also received another call from a neighbor who said that four children from their destination were with her and that they said a shot was fired.
Sheriff Davis said that after an hour of failed attempts to get an answer from anyone who could be inside, the SWAT team breached the house and found the bodies.
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