About 30 minutes after his wife told the police that he threatened to shoot a neighbor, Mount Pleasant resident Richard Cathcart III called 911 at least three times and warned the officers amassing outside his house.
In the recordings of his 911 calls, made available today after The Post and Courier filed a formal request, the 60-year-old said he was armed with a gun as a dispatcher pleaded with him to emerge from his Parish Place home and talk with the officers.
“They will go away if you will come and speak with one of them,” a dispatcher told Cathcart.
But before he hung up a third time, Cathcart said, “If you don’t get those cops away from here, I’m going to kill every one of them.”
The ensuing hours-long standoff would end just before 6 p.m. Sept. 18 with Cathcart pointing a handgun at SWAT team members, who fatally shot him, according to the authorities.
The incident on Wappetaw Place started after Cathcart’s wife called the police to her home around 2:30 p.m. after he retrieved a gun. She said he was experiencing a fit of alcohol-fueled rage, and she wanted to get him to a hospital for treatment.
The retired mechanical engineer struggled with alcohol abuse and had two drunken-driving arrests.
A neighbor, who declined to be identified, said she tried to talk to Cathcart after his wife left, but he threatened to shoot her if she didn’t leave his home.
The neighbor told responding officers that it was an empty threat and she didn’t wish to press charges. Cathcart just wanted her to shut up, she said.
During the standoff, Cathcart pointed his handgun at officers and yelled threats such as “I’ll kill you” and “If you want me, come inside,” according to reports.
At one point, he said that he just wanted police to “go away,” according to reports.
When Cathcart appeared on his front porch around 5:50 p.m., according to the police, he aimed his gun again, and members of the town’s SWAT team shot him. A bullet that struck his chest killed him, an autopsy revealed, but officials wouldn’t discuss any other injuries Cathcart might have suffered.
The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating whether the shooting was justified.
The 911 recordings help reveal Cathcart’s state of mind as police officers surrounded his house.
The newspaper submitted a request for the recordings on Sept. 20, citing the S.C. Freedom of Information Act.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.