Demetrius T'Juan Butler knew this grim story had no happy ending.

As a paramedic, he worked for years with different teams of dispatchers, police officers and firefighters all trying to defuse volatile and dangerous situations like the one he set off.

It started about 2 a.m. Thursday in Akron when Butler shot and killed his fiancee, Olivia “Liv” Hamey, 35, in the basement of her Goodyear Heights home as her children, an 11-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son, tried to sleep upstairs.

It ended not long after, about 5 miles away, in the driveway of his mother’s East Akron home.

There, Butler — a 35-year-old Twinsburg firefighter who was once named co-paramedic of the year when he worked for a different department in Stark County — shot himself in the chest.

In between the murder and the suicide, Butler left a trail of heartbreak, destruction and questions, many of which may never be answered.

 

Happy fiancee

Hamey announced her engagement to Butler in December 2017.

“OMG gonna be a wifey,” Hamey posted, along with a picture of her perfectly manicured left hand showing off a ring with a large, square diamond surrounded by other, smaller diamonds.

She did not say how the couple met, but it wasn’t the first relationship for either.

Hamey already had a daughter and son and spent much of her Facebook page showing pictures of them having fun.

It’s not clear whether Butler, who had no Facebook page under his name, had children of his own, too. But he clearly embraced Hamey’s children as his family.

In April 2018, when Butler was moved from part-time to full-time work with the Twinsburg Fire Department, Hamey posted pictures of all of them together against the backdrop of a red-and-white firetruck.

Butler, who graduated from Barberton High School and went on to study at the University of Akron, had also worked as a part-time firefighter/paramedic in Norton and other departments.

After their engagement, Hamey routinely posted pictures of fresh flowers and gifts that Butler sent, including red roses and embroidered hand towels featuring a pink-iced doughnut and the phrase "I donut know what I’d do without you."

If there was trouble in their relationship over coming months, Hamey didn’t mention it on the public part of her Facebook page.

In July, she changed her Facebook profile picture to Butler, herself, and her two kids parasailing, all smiling as their legs dangled over the ocean water.

The same month, she posted pictures of herself and Butler in matching black outfits — she in strappy leopard sandals that matched the spots tattooed on one of her shoulders, he in leopard moccasins.

And in August, she asked friends whether they should get married in Aruba or the Bahamas.

Her last public post was March 25. Hamey said the family was going to Kalahari water park near Sandusky and had plans to next go to Chicago and to Jamaica for her birthday.

“Kids r in store for lots of fun,” she wrote.

 

911 call arrives

Akron police dispatch picked up the 911 call at 1:56 a.m. Thursday.

At first, there was nothing but high-pitched screaming. It was Hamey’s daughter. She told a dispatcher that Butler and her mother had argued and then he shot her five times in the basement of their home in the 600 block of Brittain Road.

When the dispatcher asked the girl where Butler was, she calmed down and focused: “He just pulled off ... and there’s blood all over the place ... I think she dead ... I don’t want to look at her,” the girl told the dispatcher. “Should I call someone to come over like my grandmother?”

The girl told the dispatcher that Butler and her mother were to be married next year. He drove a black Jeep, the girl said, and he turned left onto Brittain Road when he pulled out of their driveway.

Akron police picked up the next 911 connected to the shooting at 2:04 a.m. A woman was sobbing and hysterical.

“My son just called and said he killed his girlfriend,” the woman said, identifying Butler as her son.

A dispatcher tried to coax information from the woman, who was finally able to say she lived in a house in the 1400 block of Virginia Avenue and that her son still had the gun he used to shoot his girlfriend and planned to kill himself.

“Please don’t kill my son, please don’t kill my son,” the woman sobbed into the phone.

Moments later, for the first time since the woman called 911, her sobs stopped.

Butler was at her house, she told the dispatcher, who asked her to put him on the phone.

“How are you doing?” the dispatcher asked Butler.

“I’m not doing good, man,” Butler said, through tears of his own. “This s--- just built up and [expletive] built up and built up.”

The dispatcher didn’t ask anything about what had happened before. He only wanted to know if Butler still had a gun.

“Yes, I do,” Butler said. “I’m going to kill myself.”

The dispatcher asked Butler to give the gun to his mother.

“I’m sorry, sir, not to be disrespectful, I respect everything, but I gotta go,” Butler told the dispatcher.

The phone line went dead.

Butler was in the driveway of his mom’s house when Akron police arrived. As an officer approached him, police said Butler put the barrel of his gun against his chest and pulled the trigger.

He was taken to Summa Akron City Hospital, where he later died.

In the hours that followed, Summit County Children Services initially took custody of Hamey’s children and then placed them with their father.

And people who knew both Hamey and Butler tried to figure out what went wrong.

On Thursday afternoon, Twinsburg’s mayor and fire chief issued a joint statement, calling Butler’s death a “tragic loss.” Although he only worked there full-time since last year, Butler had been a part-time firefighter in Twinsburg since 2012 and represented the city on the Summit County Hazardous Materials Response Team.

“Demetrius has touched many lives throughout several communities in which he has served,” the statement said, adding that he was a valued part of the team.

Hamey’s friends mourned online.

“This one hurt real bad ... you always was a good friend to me kept it real and was easy to talk to down to earth and a dope ass mom to your kids,” one of Hamey’s friends posted to Facebook. “I'll be mourning this one forever.”

 

Beacon Journal reporter Rick Armon contributed to this article. Amanda Garrett can be reached at 330-996-3725 or agarrett@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @agarrettABJ.