Powdersville standoff – updated

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A standoff involving a suspect in the murder of a Simpsonville man and the Anderson County SWAT team at the Executive Inn on S.C. 153 last Tuesday night (Nov. 24), ended in the self inflicted death of two people.  Kevin Duane Brewer, 37 and Jennifer Lynn Bensch, 32, of Simpsonville, were both found dead from self inflicted gunshot wounds after the three hour standoff.

According to Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore, both victims died of a single gun shot wound to the head. Shore has ruled that both died from self-inflicted wounds. “The gun was closer to the female victim, indicating that Brewer killed himself first, followed by Bensch.” Shore said that toxicology reports are still pending, but that the amount of drug paraphernalia found in the room suggests methamphetamine use was involved.

Officials with the Anderson County Sheriffs Office said Brewer was a suspect in the shooting death of Donnie Pitts Taylor, 76, of Simpsonville, who was found dead in his home from a single gunshot wound to the chest just after 8 p.m. Monday. Robbery appears to be the motive, according to law enforcement sources.

As the investigation continued, a vehicle of interest in the case was located at the Powdersville motel. A warrant for room 12 was obtained and entry was attempted. During the contact, a shot was fired through the room door, striking a SWAT team member, whose protective helmet deflected the round.

The SWAT deputy was not injured and at no point did the responding officers exchange gunfire. Subsequently, several rounds of tear gas were fired into the room, and entry was made through a window.

According to the ACSO, approximately 40 officers responded to the scene in Powdersville along with officers from the Simpsonville Police Department.

According to reports, Brewer lived in Simpsonville but was from Honea Path. Shore said Bensch was Brewer’s girlfriend and was reportedly an employee of Taylor. Simpsonville Police Chief Keith Grounsell said during the standoff, Brewer implicated himself in the Taylor shooting, which happened after an argument turned physical.

The investigation into Taylor’s murder is ongoing and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is investigating the standoff, officials said.

Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper expressed gratitude that no one was injured during the standoff. “The officer who was struck by the round is well aware of how lucky he was. If he didn’t have one before, he now has a heck of a war story to tell. But the team performed their jobs well and safely. No shots were fired by any of the officers. These situations are always tragic, but at least the loss of life wasn’t worse.”