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Machete-Wielding Landlord Allegedly Threatened to Cut up Tenant

Landlord forced his way into residence with hammer.

A Flowery Branch man is facing numerous charges stemming from a Feb. 26 incident during which he reportedly entered a tenant's home and threatened to cut the tenant with a machete.

Gwinnett County Police were dispatched to a Cloud Street residence in Buford after a 911 caller advised a machete-wielding man had entered the home. Before officers arrived, the man -- identified as James Swansey, 80, of Flowery Branch -- left the scene in a Ford pickup truck. An officer spotted a truck matching the description of Swansey's vehicle on Church Street and conducted a traffic stop.

Swansey, who identified himself as the owner of the Cloud Street residence, admitted he had just left the home and had been involved in an altercation with his tenants. According to the police report, Swansey said no one would answer his knock, so he used a hammer to break a lock on one of the doors. He reportedly also admitted entering the residence with a hammer and a machete.

"I asked Swansey why he was armed with a machete," the officer wrote in the report. "Swansey stated, 'I was going to hit that n----- in the head with it.' "

When informed his actions were illegal, Swansey reportedly became upset and said that since he was the owner, he could come and go from the residence as he pleased. The officer explained that was not the case, to which Swansey allegedly replied, "Bull----, I go in there whenever I want."

Swansey was taken into custody at that point.

"When I placed Swansey under arrest he stated that he would be back at the residence as soon as he got out of jail," the officer noted.

Swansey's truck was impounded and the hammer and machete were recovered from the vehicle. Once the impound was complete, the officer drove to the Cloud Street house to speak with the tenant. The tenant said Swansey entered the home, held the machete and hammer in the air in a "threatening manner" and made verbal threats to cut him with the machete.

As of March 6, Swansey remained jailed on charges of aggravated assault and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime.

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