What happens when you get a charitable wild hair and start handing out $20 bills to strangers?
Sometimes, it turns out, you get shot.
At a Waffle House Sunday night in Gainseville, Florida, the joint was hoppin’.
In fact, it was so packed, police were on their way: Someone’d called the popo, sayin’ the place was reaching its maximum capacity.
41-year-old Craig Brewer was one of those packin’ the place like a can of sardines, and for some reason, he began passing out Andrew Jacksons to patrons.
Wow — Elvis style.
But then something went horribly wrong: Ezekiel Hicks got all shook up because no dough was handed to his female companions. Soon, the 25-year-old was in a confrontation with Craig. The entire ordeal was caught on video.
Also captured: Ezekiel leaving the restaurant momentarily and returning with a 9mm pistol.
The police…as previously mentioned…were on their way. But they were too late to prevent an atrocity.
According to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, in an altercation that “lasted only seconds,” Ezekiel fired at Craig. The bullet struck the generous man in the head, killing him.
A 911 call summarized the incident thusly:
“A dude in a big shirt, a really big dude in a green shirt came in, shot some dude in the head and ran away.”
The cops arrived in time to arrest Ezekiel in the parking lot.
He’s being held without bail, charged with first-degree murder.
Sheriff’s Dept. Spokesman Lt. Brett Rhodenizer told ABC New that officers are torn up — they were almost on the scene to prevent the killing:
“They feel like they were so close and just far enough away to where they couldn’t change the outcome.”
He also said the escalation was shockingly swift:
“The speed at which it happened and how quickly it went so bad — for both the victim and the suspect — is really kind of the thing that resonates the most with a lot of the folks that have been a part of the investigation.”
It’s yet to be determined whether Ezekiel and Craig had some sort of shared past.
“The why of this case will persist for days and weeks as we conduct follow-up interviews, but the how is incredibly straightforward. Out of all the investigations that I’ve seen, very seldom do you have an incident from start to finish on video that ends in a murder.”
Daily headlines serve to remind us: We never know what day will be our last. And we’re unlikely to anticipate great tragedy. You have, I’m sure — as have I — been made aware of this reality through the tragedy of friends and family, if by not personal experience.
For Craig Brewer, his life’s end came at a moment of apparent elation.
At a time in our country when atheism is our largest religion, it seems to me that many of us would do well to take stock our lives and consider what is most important (here, here, and here). Hopefully — if you subscribe to a personal faith — as a result of that introspection, for each of us, happiness at the end will give way to the joy of a new beginning.
Find all my RedState work here.
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