Woman Destroys House, Fires 10 Shots During Domestic But Guyton PD Takes No Action

A recent incident inside the city limits of Guyton involved a destructive and violent woman who fired a gun ten times, injured her boyfriend, destroyed his home, and refused to follow commands from responding law enforcement, but Guyton Police took no action that day.

Seemingly more concerning was that Guyton PD was not the first agency to arrive on scene, the police chief was unprepared for the incident and had to borrow equipment from the Sheriff’s Office, and he was unaware that the location was even in his jurisdiction.

Incident and Response Time

At 7:10 p.m., 911 received a call about a woman who was making threats and had fired a handgun two times. The male caller, who was the boyfriend of the woman, stated he was bleeding from broken glass and was currently hiding from the woman as she was reportedly destroying things inside the home of the male caller. While on the phone with 911, the woman fired additional shots.  

911 dispatched a Guyton Police Officer, but one minute later, GPD Officer Ben Johnson told 911 dispatch to send county deputies because no one from Guyton PD was available. 

A county deputy subsequently arrived on scene at 7:15 p.m. ahead of Guyton Police Chief James Breletic who had also been notified of the call. The deputy was met by the bloodied male caller who said the woman still had the gun and was inside the house. 

From the ECSO incident report:

I pulled up closer to the home and angled my car so that it could be used as cover and conduct a call out. I went to the back of my vehicle and retrieved my patrol rifle and loaded it as Guyton Police Chief Breletic came up to me. I heard another shot fired within the residence. I told him that we were going to hold and call her out of the residence. He asked if I had another ballistic vest he could use. I pointed to my SRT tactical vest. 

As he was putting it on, [the woman] fired another round out of the residence. I notified dispatch that a shot had been fired and to step units up. I then saw [the woman] walk behind her vehicle and fire two more shots. She was out of my view and I could not tell what direction she was firing in. 

I then began giving loud clear commands for her to drop the gun. She ignored commands and began walking into the tree line. I continued to give loud and clear commands for her to drop the gun. She stopped and began saying something but I could not make it out. I continued to give commands for her to drop the gun. She began walking again towards what appeared to be a large hole. It was at this time, Chief Breletic moved up to the two vehicles parked near the home. One belonging to [the male caller] and the other belonging to [the woman].

[The woman] was now out of my line of fire and I could not see her. I began moving toward several large and wide dock pilings that were in the ground. As I got closer to them, [the woman] fired off two more shots into what I could now see was a pond. Once I was able to get to cover, I again began giving loud verbal commands for her to drop the gun. She then fired another shot into the pond.

After several more commands, [the woman] then turned around towards Chief Breletic’s direction with the gun in her right hand. Pointed the gun up at herself, then looked toward Chief Breletic. I took aim center mass, removed my safety, placed my finger on the trigger, and prepared to fire if she presented the gun in his direction. Chief Breletic pleaded for her to drop the gun and I gave a final loud and clear command to drop the gun. At that time, [the woman] threw the gun down. I immediately removed my finger from the trigger and placed my rifle on safe.

Chief Breletic called her over to him. Once he had hands on her, I went to secure the firearm. I found the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm laying on the ground with the slide locked back with a expended magazine still inserted. I secured the firearm as more Deputies arrived and l placed the firearm on the hood of my patrol car and secured my rifle in my trunk.

Chief Breletic came up to me and asked how I was going to handle the call. I told him that this call is in the city limits and that was up to him. As more Deputies arrived, they confirmed that the call was in fact City of Guyton. Chief Breletic took over the call and began his investigation. 

When another Guyton Police Officer arrived on scene, he took possession of the firearm and all deputies cleared the scene.

Ultimately, a total of twelve Effingham County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene. Thirty-nine minutes after the initial call for service, GPD Officer Ben Johnson arrived on scene, though 911 logs show the incident had long been under control and EMS had already arrived and departed from the incident location.  

Report by Guyton PD

The information above detailing the timeline of events was obtained via the Effingham County 911 dispatch logs and from the incident report detailed by the first ECSO deputy on scene.

Guyton PD only provided the following information on the incident as on July 13, 2023, fifteen days after the incident. TGV also requested any body camera or dash camera footage from anyone who responded, but Guyton PD said none existed.

Note that on the incident report written by Breletic, the male caller who was injured is listed as a witness, not a victim.

Why No Charges or Arrests?

It is unclear why no charges were filed and no arrests were made on the day of the incident. Much of what occurred happened in the presence of law enforcement, so there is no ‘ongoing investigation’ to be conducted.

The woman allegedly fired two shots before 911 was called, one shot while the caller was on the phone with 911, and seven shots while a deputy and Chief Breletic were already on scene. The home in question was subject to destruction by the woman and was in close proximity to other homes, placing other residents in danger. 

Among the charges, or combination of charges, that could have been filed that day:

  • Aggravated Assault (on the male caller/homeowner)
  • Battery (Domestic Violence)
  • Criminal Trespass (Domestic Violence)
  • Reckless Conduct (a misdemeanor)
  • Discharging a Firearm in the City Limits (a misdemeanor)

Under OCGA § 17-4-20.1, law enforcement officials are supposed to determine who the ‘primary aggressor’ in the incident is and proceed from there, irrespective of what a victim or alleged victim may want at the time.

Under that same code section, in subsection c, the agency should have also prepared a Family Violence Report, which is required by law to be submitted to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, whether an arrest is made or not. The City of Guyton in its response to records provided made no mention of such a report existing.

TGV News requested other documents, which the city was legally obligated to provide, whether the case was open or not. If the case was open and the documents exist, they should have been provided in a fully-redacted format to demonstrate that they do, in fact, exist.

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and co-creator of of the Peabody Award-nominated podcast 'Prison Town.'

Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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