Another man charged in Lazy Gators shooting

Joyce L. Miller
Craig Hawkins, 23, has been charged with second degree murder and assault in a deadly shooting at Lazy Gators over Memorial Weekend.

A second man from Jefferson City is being held without bond on charges stemming from the shooting death of Vonza Watson over Memorial Day Weekend at Lazy Gators.

Camden County Prosecutor Caleb Cunningham charged Craig Hawkins, 23, with second degree murder and assault less than 24 hours after announcing charges against Chad T. Brewer, 29, also of Jefferson City. Brewer is charged with first degree murder and drug related charges.

Watson was an up-and-coming rapper who went by the stage name VNZA. He grew up in Michigan and Jefferson City, most recently living in the Kansas City area.

Watson was at Lazy Gators with friends, including his girlfriend, when a fight broke out that ended with him suffering a fatal gun shot wound to the abdomen.

Chad Brewer is accused of firing the handgun that killed Watson.  John Brewer is named in the newest court documents as a person who was involved in a fight that ended with the shooting.

According to court documents, Hawkins was seen in videos obtained over the course of the investigation arriving with Chad Brewer in a red Jeep. Hawkins was easily identified by a bright yellow shirt he was wearing. Hawkins was seen with the group of people who were involved in the fight and was allegedly shown hitting Watson multiple times with closed fists while he was laying facedown on the bar when Chad Brewer allegedly fired the gun.

Hawkins was arrested on July 28 by the Jefferson City Police Department. During questioning by the police department and Camden County Sheriff’s Department, Hawkins allegedly admitted to being at Shady Gators before going to Lazy Gators. It was his birthday, he said.

Hawkins and Chad Brewer were allegedly captured on video shooting a video at the bar not long before the shooting.

Hawkins allegedly admitted to be involved in the fight and leaving the bar after the shooting. Hawkins said he went to their vehicle where Chad Brewer had gone. Hawkins alleged Chad Brewer got out of the vehicle after they got stopped in the traffic.

Chad Brewer was arrested on May 29, shortly after the shooting was reported. Brewer was taken into custody by deputies on the scene after they spotted a man near the venue who matched the description of a possible suspect. During the arrest, Brewer allegedly had approximately 5.5 grams of cocaine in his possession, packaged for sale. Brewer was taken into custody at the scene on drug related charges.

After his arrest, Brewer was transferred to the Missouri Department of Corrections. He has remained in custody since the shooting on a parole violation out of Cole County for first degree robbery.

Chad Brewer allegedly told investigators the fight was over a “beef” that started when he was in prison. He alleged that at one time, he and Watson were friends. He denied being the person who was seen on video firing the gun.

Over the course of the investigation, investigators were able to track down information on Chad Brewer’s whereabouts immediately after the shooting. Brewer and his brother were allegedly seen on surveillance video leaving the bar immediately after the shooting. Another video allegedly shows the fight in progress. Chad Brewer can be seen being pushed away by people intervening in the fight. The muzzle flash of a gun can be seen and there is an audible pop sound.

One 9mm casing and one fired bullet were on the ground near where the victim was found.

Lazy Gators and Shady Gators are located next to each other at the 7-mile marker by water and off of Sweet William Rd by land.

Since the shooting, security at both venues has been increased.

Working with the Camden County Sheriff’s Department has been the Missouri Highway Patrol, ATF, Jefferson City Police Department and several other agencies who contributed to the investigation.