Fla. 911 Tape Reveals Panic of Slaying Suspect


 
 

Allyson Bird | | Wednesday, March 5, 2008


PALM BEACH, Fla. -- After allegedly shooting a woman who had been drinking at his apartment, Thomas Sutton told a Florida 911 dispatcher it was an accident and that she had pointed a gun at him.

"Do you know who did it?" the dispatcher asks on a 911 recording from about 3 a.m. Friday.

"Yeah I did it on accident," Sutton, 26, replies.

"I was teaching her about firearms," he continues. "I didn't know my weapon was loaded."

From there he becomes more panicked, explaining that he shot Brittany Armstrong, 18, in the head. Almost begging, he says, "Please come soon. She's bleeding out of her eye."

When the dispatcher asks if Armstrong is his girlfriend, Sutton says she just came over to drink.

"She pointed a gun at me, and I freaked out. Oh my God!" he says, looking at the lifeless body on his couch.

Police Sgt. Scott Pascarella said investigators found no evidence that Armstrong threatened Sutton.

"What do I do?" Sutton cries on the line. "Please!"

A paramedic comes onto the line and tells Sutton to move Armstrong to the floor to begin CPR. Moments later, rescue workers arrive.

The tape records Sutton shouting, "No gun! No gun!"

A police report explains that paramedics arrived to find him kneeling beside Armstrong with a semiautomatic pistol in his right hand.

Paramedics flew Armstrong to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, where she died at about 7 a.m.

Police arrested Sutton on manslaughter charges. He remains at the Palm Beach County Jail.

Looking around the blood-spattered room, police found two more pistols, the report says.

Sutton told an officer the shooting was an accident, that he couldn't believe what happened and that he shouldn't have been drinking, the report says.

Smelling of alcohol, he explained that he used to work in security or law enforcement and that Armstrong was a police Explorer.

Pascarella said Sutton worked as an auxiliary officer for a few years in Inkster, Mich.

Before asking for an attorney, Sutton told an officer he was trying to teach Armstrong gun safety and thought the weapon wasn't loaded.

Then, according to the report, he added, "Apparently I was wrong."


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Related Topics: Communications and Dispatch, Legal and Ethical

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