Neighbor: Man killed in standoff wanted to die

A friend who was on the phone with a Snellville man Wednesday during his four-hour standoff with police doesn't blame officers for shooting him.

"I have no quarrels with police," said Sonja Lawson, a friend of 40-year-old Selwyn Myron Heath. "They did everything they could."

A deputy fatally shot Heath Wednesday afternoon following a four-hour standoff at his house on Skylar's Mill Way. The deputy, whose name was not released, is on routine administrative leave pending an investigation, according to Gwinnett County sheriff's spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais.

Snellville police went to the home because Heath's fiancée had alleged he beat her up. Heath barricaded himself and his 14-year-old son inside. He let the teen go, however, when SWAT officers arrived.

Lawson said that she tried to persuade Heath to surrender. She said Heath told her he wanted police to kill him and that he was tired of the bad economy. He also told her he didn't want to go to jail.

When Heath finally emerged, he charged at deputies while carrying two large butcher knives, Bourbonnais said.

Deputies stunned Heath twice with a Taser and shot him with a bean bag round, but Heath was unfazed, Bourbonnais said.

"At that point, they were forced to fire their weapons," she said.

Violet Smart, who lived next-door to Heath, said deputies should have avoided shooting Heath, since he wasn't armed with a gun.

"What could he have done to all those police out here?" Smart said.