Ezekiel Luke Hicks, 25, is suspected of killing Craig Arttez Brewer in a Waffle House in Gainesville.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — New details have emerged from a shooting early Sunday morning that left one man dead inside of a Waffle House.
Alachua County sheriff’s deputies said 41-year-old Craig Arttez Brewer, who was killed at about 3 a.m. Sunday, had been paying for others’ food and giving out money to some of the restaurant’s customers shortly before his death.
The acts of kindness led to resentment from one female customer, according to the sheriff’s office, and that gave rise to an argument between Brewer and his alleged killer. Suddenly, a crowded Waffle House turned into a murder scene.
Ezekiel Luke Hicks, 25, is accused of shooting Brewer multiple times, at least once in the head, sheriff’s Lt. Brett Rhodenizer said.
Deputies believe the men’s argument started after a woman, who was at the Waffle House with Hicks, got angry because Brewer’s generous turn in paying for others’ meals didn’t include hers. Brewer had been picking up the tab for others’ food and handing out $20 bills.
“The victim was engaging folks at the restaurant, and there was a disagreement with a female customer,” Rhodenizer said.
Hicks confronted him, deputies said.
At one point during the argument, deputies said, Hicks left the restaurant and came back with a gun. A bystander tried to dissuade him going back in.
Brewer and Hicks got into a brief physical fight before Hicks pulled the trigger, deputies said.
Deputies responded to the Waffle House early Sunday after employees called 911 to report it had reached maximum capacity but customers were refusing to leave, Rhodenizer said. They arrived to find Brewer with gunshot wounds to the head.
They believe the shooting occurred just before they got there or as they were arriving, Rhodenizer said.
An autopsy was scheduled for Monday morning and deputies are working to find out the relationship between Hicks and Brewer. At the scene, investigators recovered a 9 mm Glock pistol that may have been used in the shooting.
“The evidence in the case is fairly straightforward. We’re working with the state attorney. It’s pretty obvious. We have on video what happened,” Rhodenizer said. “There was at least one gunshot to the head but the medical examiner will offer authoritative information on that.
“What we’re trying to find out in the days ahead is if this was truly a verbal argument that turned into a murder case or if there is something missing there.”
Hicks was charged with first-degree murder.
He faced drug charges in 2017 but avoided jail time after going through a pretrial diversion program.
A Waffle House employee said the restaurant had been reopened since the shooting. A manager declined to comment.