Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine numbered among hundreds who gave part of their Thursday evening over to remembering Det. Bill Brewer, the Clermont County deputy killed Sunday in a Pierce Township standoff.
“This is the least I could do,” he said. “Not much I can do to help, but I wanted to come and pay my respects (and) let Mrs. Brewer know that my wife, Fran, and I are praying for her and her family. We feel deeply this horrible tragedy.”
The visitation at Mt. Carmel Christian Church brought strangers, coworkers and friends, including former county worker Jennifer Morgan, who drove from Columbus to attend. She had known Brewer when she managed Clermont County’s fleet of vehicles, she explained.
“He was just a good guy — an all-around good guy,” she said. “Always looking out for people in their best interest and what he could do to help.”
She had a tight grip on her emotions, she added, until she reached the visitation and was reunited with others she hadn’t seen in years.
“Wouldn’t have felt right if I hadn’t come down here,” she said. “(It’s) just overwhelming. The county is family.”
According to a tweet from E.C. Nurre Funeral Homes, organizers counted more than 1,500 names in the event’s guestbook by the end of the night.
Brewer, who was 42, had been responding to a call for help at On the Green at Royal Oak Apartments at the time of his death. A tenant there, 23-year-old Wade Winn, called 911 to report a burglary and then refused to leave his apartment when law enforcement arrived.
The 911 calls released after the incident reveal Winn — who also streamed part of the confrontation on Instagram — in a paranoid, disorganized frenzy. He told a dispatcher he smelled “dead body stink from next door,” promised he was ready to defend himself with an assault rifle and pistol, and became increasingly convinced that local police departments either did not exist or were trying to harm him personally.
Attempts from dispatchers and family members to convince Winn to abandon his weapons and come outside were unsuccessful. When he threatened suicide, Brewer and fellow deputy Lt. Nick DeRose entered his apartment.
He shot them both. Brewer died.
Clermont County Prosecutor Darren Miller said Monday he intends to seek the death penalty for Winn, who faces charges of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder in connection to the attack. Defense attorney Jay Clark described the case as a cautionary tale about unchecked mental illness.
“He gave me three diagnoses that I won’t tell you what they are now, but he’s been medicated for them in the past and they’re significant,” he said.
DeRose, whose bulletproof vest absorbed one shot and whose ankle took another, watched Winn’s arraignment.
Brewer will be buried Friday. He is survived by his wife of 13 years and their 5-year-old son.