The death of a man who was shot five times at a Ladson home this summer has been deemed justifiable homicide, authorities said.
Zachary Cole Davanzo, 23, was killed Aug. 15 at 104 Meese Road.
Officials determined that a woman had shot Davanzo, a roommate in their home, to protect her husband, recently released documents showed. The couple gave investigators consistent self-defense accounts, and prosecutors recommended not pursuing charges against them, the reports added.
Deputies from the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office were called to the mobile home on at least four previous occasions to handle drug complaints and disturbances. A neighbor told the authorities that she had witnessed fights, drug use and a man chasing a roommate down the street with a gun.
Supplemental incident reports from the Sheriff’s Office give few details about what led to the Aug. 15 killing, but a neighbor reported seeing Davanzo arrive at the home earlier with one of the residents, Dwayne Thomas Sweatman Jr., 28.
Sweatman and his wife, Breanne Jane Sweatman, 26, called authorities about 5:50 a.m. to report the shooting.
Deputies found Davanzo lying in the backyard with .22-caliber shell casings nearby. An autopsy would reveal that he had been shot five times, including at least once in the left side at close range, the reports stated.
“Both claim (Breanne Sweatman) shot victim (Zachary Davanzo) in defense of her husband” with a .22-caliber rifle, the documents said.
Breanne Sweatman later told deputies that she “freaked out” after shooting Davanzo and put the gun back on a rack, then washed blood off her hands, the reports added.
The Sweatmans also had blood splatter on their clothes or glasses.
In searching the home, investigators found at least three other guns: a .22-caliber pistol, a 16-gauge shotgun and a 7.62-caliber AK-47-style rifle.
They also came across several cellphones, including one submerged in water, that they would search for evidence.
One neighbor told the deputies that “there is always fighting” at the home and that she had called Berkeley County periodically for fighting and drugs.
“She stated that due to the violence,” the report continued, “she does not leave the house in fear that she will be harmed.”
That morning, the neighbor said, she heard yelling around the time of the shooting, but she didn’t see it happen.
Another neighbor told The Post and Courier that he heard fighting, then saw a distressed man running from the house. He heard cursing outside, five or six gunshots and screaming.
“Please help me!” the neighbor, Richard Ward, recalled someone yelling. “Please help me!”