He Handed Out $20 Bills to Customers at a Florida Waffle House. That Kindness Proved Fatal

Howard Cohen, Miami Herald, April 9, 2019

Craig Artez Brewer decided to pay for strangers’ meals at a Gainesville Waffle House. He came with $20 bills and smiles and handed out some money to several customers at the popular eatery.

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According to deputies, Brewer, 41, got into an argument with Ezekiel Luke Hicks, 25, inside the Waffle House on West Newberry Road, not far from the University of Florida. Alachau deputies believe the fight started when a woman got angry that Brewer’s Good Samaritan generosity didn’t extend to her, the Gainesville Sun reported.

Hicks, officers said, then started to argue with Brewer and the confrontation turned physical inside the restaurant. A crowd began to gather inside and outside of the Waffle House.

The first call to 911 came in from a woman who told a dispatcher “a fight is ready to erupt at Waffle House as 30 to 40 people in here are getting out of control arguing and fighting. Half are inside, some are outside,” the caller said. The dispatcher asked if anyone appeared drunk. “They might have been drinking, it’s a bar rush,” the woman responded.

It was around 3 in the morning.

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“Someone got shot,” the man told the 911 dispatcher. “Dude got shot in the head. A big dude in a green shirt shot some dude in the head and ran away.” He told the dispatcher officers were arriving.

According to deputies, Hicks had left the restaurant and, while outside, armed himself with a handgun, which was recovered on the scene.

“Despite the efforts of at least one bystander, the suspect went back inside, approached the victim, and a physical fight started. As the fight continued, the suspect took the handgun from his pants and shot Brewer in the head,” Alachua deputies said.

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Brewer was charged with premeditated first degree murder and carrying a concealed, unlicensed firearm. He is being held without bail at Alachua County Jail.

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[Editor’s Note: Published accounts of this incident include a photo of Ezekiel Hicks, but none of Craig Artez Brewer.]

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