Camden County prosecutor charges man in deadly shooting at Lake of the Ozarks bar in May

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 4:13 PM CDT
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CAMDENTON, Mo. (KY3) - The Camden County prosecutor filed a murder charge in a two-month investigation into a deadly shooting at a Lake of the Ozarks bar.

Chad Tariq Brewer, 29, faces charges of first-degree murder, delivery of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

Investigators say Brewer shot Vonza Watson in the abdomen at the Lazy Gators on May 29. Watson later died from his injuries.

Camden County Prosecutor J. Caleb Cunningham says a fight broke out between Watson and several people shortly before the shooting.

“The investigation has determined that there had been ‘beef’ between these people before from prison and it spilled over to here,” Cunningham says.

Investigators uncovered video footage from a bar patron showing Brewer raise his arm, then fire the shot. Bar surveillance showed him inside throughout the night. Investigators say at the time of the shooting, Watson was face down over the rock wall of the bar, not fighting. Camden County Sheriff Tony Helms says people shouldn’t bring weapons places when they’re drinking.

“I support the right to carry but people need to follow the rules,” Sheriff Helms says. “You don’t bring guns when you’re involved with alcohol. They don’t belong there.”

Investigators say Brewer was arrested the night of the shooting for having 5.5 grams of cocaine on him. Sheriff Helms says he’s concerned about drugs being brought into the area by people coming to the lake to party.

“Our guests that come down here for vacations and stuff used to be just obstacles, they weren’t problems,” Sheriff Helms says. “Well now we’re getting some of the problem people out of the cities.”

Investigators say on June 3 while in the Camden County Detention Center, Brewer placed a call and could be heard discussing the shooting. In the call, investigators say Brewer told someone not to post photos of him and what he was wearing that night.

On June 25, detectives submitted a search warrant for Brewer’s Snapchat account. On July 8, detectives received the information for the account. Detectives say they found pictures of Brewer from the day of the shooting at Lazy Gators, wearing what witnesses described as the shooters outfit.

Community members played a crucial role in this case.

“It was a member of the public who ultimately provided one of the most influential pieces of evidence in this case,” Cunningham says.

Sheriff Helms says his deputies spent at least three days looking through video footage sent to them by community members.

“We got video from so many people and we were able to enhance some of it,” Sheriff Helms says.

Watson was a rapper and visual artist going by the state name of VNZA.

Prosecutors requested a no bond warrant on Brewer as he was on parole for first-degree robbery from Cole County.

“My office will pursue every person who comes to our community and commits a crime,” Cunningham says.

Cunningham says it’s not just Brewer who was involved in the crime.

“My officers and the sheriff’s officers are around the state,” Cunningham says. “There are some in interrogation rooms right now.”

Cunningham says the punishment for these charges ranges from life without parole to potentially using the death penalty.

“This is a very heavy decision to use the ultimate tool in our justice system against someone and we are still deliberating that,” Cunningham says.

Brewer is in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

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