The Greenville police chief and county deputies said the Mauldin man who was shot to death outside of the local law enforcement center threatened law enforcement with a hot glue gun.
Greenville Police Chief Terry Wilfong and Greenville County Major Shea Smith spoke at the Greenville County Law Enforcement Center about the January fatal shooting where they said 31-year-old Wesley Kyle Swilling threatened to kill law enforcement that morning, appearing to point and hold what looked like a handgun.
About 3 a.m. on Jan. 14, Wilfong said Swilling arrived in a silver car, pulling into the restricted back parking lot where he waited nearly 15 minutes for an officer to walk across the lot. She said when the first officer appeared, Swilling threw a baseball at him then yelled, threatening to kill him and pulled what looked like a handgun out and pointed it at him.
At that time, Wilfong said the officer went to get a deputy who was working on paperwork in his patrol vehicle outside of the center.
Smith said both the officer and deputy ordered Swilling to drop the weapon, he refused and continued to approach them, prompting the officers to fire shots. Smith said Swilling repeatedly acted aggressively and threatening towards the law enforcement officers, refusing to stop and drop his weapon.
Gunfire broke out, and at one point, Swilling was hit by a bullet, fell to the ground, then got back up and continued to advance towards them, Smith said. In all, the deputy fired 22 rounds and the officer fired two rounds, Smith and Wilfong said. Seven vehicles parked in the lot were struck.
Greenville County Deputy Coroner Jeff Fowler said Swilling was shot seven times, including taking a bullet to the chest. The deputy and officer involved were not injured.
Since the shooting, the deputy was cleared by Sheriff Steve Loftis and the office's review board and returned to work on Jan. 30. Smith said the deputy believed they were in imminent danger and was justified in using deadly force. Wilfong said her officer remains on administrative duty.
Surveillance from the shooting has not been released as The State Law Enforcement Division continues to investigate the shooting.
Swilling's family released a statement on Wednesday staying, "Wes was a cherished member of our family, adored by his friends and was in our company in the hours just before the events of Jan. 14.
"We are devastated and still have many unanswered questions about what occurred. We also wish to thank the many people who have reached out to us during a very difficult and emotional time."
A vigil for Swilling will be held at Springfield Park in Mauldin on Sunday at 4 p.m.
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