Local News

1 Killed, 3 Wounded in Chatham Shootings

Posted April 18, 1998

— Three Chatham County people are in critical condition after being shot early Sunday in what appears to have been a domestic dispute; a fourth person died.

The Chatham County Sheriff's office says Jesse Brewer, 52, of 1046 Gees Grove Church Road, allegedly shot Jesse "PeeWee" Austin about 3 a.m. at the Brooks Brothers Dairy on Old 421 South. Austin has worked for the dairy for 20 years, and was milking the cows when he was shot several times.

Investigators say Brewer also allegedly shot his wife and daughter at the family home. Youver Brewer, 49, was shot five times with a .357 magnum and died in her bedroom. Their daughter, 14-year-old Brandi Brewer, was shot in the head in her bedroom.

Brewer then went to another house on the property where, according to officers, he shot himself.

Chatham County Sheriff Donald Whitt said the shootings were connected to a domestic dispute, although Whitt said it's unclear why Brewer went after Austin. "There was no relationship there according to what we could find out," Whitt said.

"(Brewer and his wife) were living together but they were having a lot of problems. He was accusing her of running around on him and was very suspicious of a lot of people in the community," Whitt said.

Kit Gruelle, who coordinates domestic-violence cases with the Chatham County courts and law enforcement, said Brewer had a history of problems with alcohol and violent behavior.

Mrs. Brewer had filed charges of assault on a female against her husband and had secured a protective order in November, Gruelle said.

In December, the couple worked out a deferred-prosecution agreement whereby Brewer agreed to go to counseling and alcohol treatment with the promise he would not be prosecuted when the court reviewed the case in about six months.

Chatham County Sheriff Don Whitt told WRAL-TV5 News that if Brewer survives he will be charged with first-degree murder, among other charges.


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