DECATUR — A golden smile, a loving father and a willingness to give the shirt off his back to those in need were some of the words used to describe Keith C. Brewer, who died Monday morning after being shot a few blocks east of downtown Decatur.
On Monday night, friends, family and neighbors came together to remember the life of Brewer, 29, with a vigil.
“He always took care of everyone else,” said his mother, Evesia Brewer. “He would pull out chairs, open doors, and he would always have a smile on his face.”
The vigil was held at Cassell Court, about 16 hours after police said Keith Brewer was fatally shot on the same street.
Police were sent to Cassell Court at 3:22 a.m. on a call that shots were fired and a victim was down, detective Sgt. Chris Copeland said.
Officers found Brewer in the street and called emergency medical services, but he was pronounced dead at 5:20 a.m. at the scene, Macon County Coroner Michael Day said. Cassell Court is just west of the 800 block of East Main Street off of the 100 block of North Hilton Street.
Day said an autopsy was scheduled Monday at the McLean County Coroner's Morgue in Bloomington, and an inquest is pending.
Among those who helped organize the vigil was Gwendolyn Emery, who said she came upon Brewer shortly after he was shot. Emery was in a car outside her daughter’s home on Cassell Court on Monday morning when she heard shots fired, she said.
After ducking in the car, Emery said she later saw Brewer exit a vehicle holding his chest before he lay down in the road. She said she ran to him and tried to comfort him while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.
“When he was laying there, I was looking at him like he was my own child,” she said. “I didn’t know him, but at that time, when I was lying on the ground, it felt like I knew him.”
When he first moved to Decatur from Oklahoma City in 2013, Darius Williams said he met Keith Brewer through the Illinois Thundercats, a semi-pro football team. The two have stayed friends, with Williams saying he had just spent time with Brewer and another teammate last week.
“(Brewer) was a good, wholehearted person,” Williams said. “Pound-for-pound, he was a great, genuine man.”
This is the city's fifth homicide of the year. Cody Drew, 24, was stabbed near West Main Street and South Oakland Avenue on the night of Aug. 9; he died early Aug. 10. Ray M. James, 48, has been arrested in the case., Nathaniel D. Majors, 22, of Decatur, was killed on Jan. 27 after being shot on North Graceland Avenue. Bernard Norvell, 35, of Decatur was killed on June 3 after being shot on East Stuart Avenue. D Angelo Dixon, 29, of Danville, was killed on July 5 after being shot on West Packard Street.
As of Monday night, Decatur police had not released any additional information about the murder or the investigation.
Several friends and family members said Monday night that they hoped someone would step forward with more information about the shooting that led to Brewer's death.
Along with taking care of his four sons, Evesia Brewer said her son was a family man who meant so much to all of his relatives.
“My child was a great nephew, a great grandson, a great uncle,” she said.