Don't Take a Glue-Gun to a Gun Fight

Police shot and killed a man who assaulted them and then pulled what police thought was a pistol, but turned out to be a glue gun in Greenville, South Carolina on Jan. 14.

31-year-old Wesley Swilling accosted a police officer in the parking lot of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Center in Greenville around 3 am. Swilling first threw a baseball at the officer, then returned to his car and drew what appeared to be a handgun and threatened to kill him.

At that point the officer, and a Sheriff’s deputy who was also in the parking lot, told Swilling to stop.  When he did not, the officer and deputy fired.  Swilling was hit, and fell, but was able to get back on his feet.  He then ducked between patrol cars in the parking lot, while still threatening the officers.

When Swilling rose again, the deputy and fired again, killing Swilling.

After the incident, officers found that he didn’t have a handgun, but a glue-gun that he’d modified to look more like a weapon.  In the darkness of the January night, the glue-gun appeared real enough to warrant a lethal response.

Parking Lot

The Law Enforcement Center Parking Lot

Swilling’s behavior has left many guessing at his intentions.  Greenville’s Channel 7 News covered the joint press conference on Feb. 6, where the Greenville Police  Department and Sheriff’s Department presented the results of their investigation.

Greenville Police Chief Terri Wilfong told them that investigators were able to determine through video surveillance that Swilling arrived in the secure back parking lot ‘approximately 15 minutes’ before the shooting.

Once there, Swilling waited.  When the officer exited the building, Swilling exited his vehicle.   “He came here with a plan,” said Wilfong.  “And he was determined to carry out that plan.”

The Glue-Gun

The Glue-Gun

Still no word on what the plan entailed.  Greenville’s Channel 9 News reports that the deputy fired 22 rounds and the officer fired two rounds, seven of which hit vehicles parked in the lot were struck, and Swilling was hit seven times before his injuries proved fatal.

Channel 7 reported that after investigating the incident the Sheriff’s Office has determined that the deputy involved followed proper procedure, and the number of rounds fired was ‘acceptable’, given Swilling’s behavior.

The glue-gun shows signs of premeditation.  The cord has been cut off flush with the handle.  The trigger has been wrapped with black electrical tape, and another piece was added to the top to cover the feed mechanism.  But what the gun was supposed to accomplish remains unknown.

Read More On:

Latest Reviews

  • A Look at the Sig P238, A Year Later

    The Sig Sauer P238 was the first .380 ACP BUG to grace my gun safe, a welcomed addition to the 9mm polymers, .38 SPL revolvers, and .45 ACP 1911s. After more than a year's worth of use, where do I stand on the P238? Let's find out.

    Read More
  • Tuck & Carry: CCW in a Skirt

    Aimed at those who want the comfort and convenience of a skirt but with the protection of a holstered gun, the Tuck & Carry occupies what I term apparel holsters -- that is clothing/holster duos.

    Read More
  • The Marlin Dark in .45-70 is Stealthy and Modern

    Flash forward the lever gun of Western lore to the 2020s, where Marlin has taken that classic design and given it a modern upgrade. Meet the Marlin Dark.

    Read More
  • Gear Review: Sig Sauer Tango 6T 1-6

    Sig Sauer has long been a big name in the firearms industry, so it came as no surprise several years ago when Sig filled out its repertoire with its own optics line. Today, we’re looking at the Tango 6T, a 1-6 low power variable optic.

    Read More