Murder charges filed against two men in death of KC-based rapper at Lake of the Ozarks

·2 min read

Two Jefferson City men have been charged with murder in the Memorial Day weekend barroom shooting death of Kansas City-based rapper and visual artist Vonza Watson at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Chad T. Brewer, 29, is charged with first-degree murder and two drug-related charges and 23-year-old Craig Hawkins is charged with second-degree murder and assault. Brewer was on parole for robbery at the time of the shooting and is being held in a Missouri prison pending trial.

Hawkins is being held without bond at the Camden County Detention Center.

According to the probable cause statement filed to support the charges against Brewer, Watson and the men were involved in a fight at Lazy Gators, a waterfront bar and entertainment venue at Lake Ozark, Missouri.

Authorities relied on cell phone and surveillance video to support the murder charge against Brewer, who was arrested the night of May 29 for possessing cocaine. The images show Brewer firing what prosecutors believe was the fatal shot.

Watson, 27, died at an area hospital from a bullet wound to his abdomen.

Brewer was charged Wednesday. The charges against Hawkins were announced on Thursday. Details about his involvement in the shooting were not immediately available.

Watson’s stage name was VNZA. He grew up in Detroit, then moved to Jefferson City while in high school and most recently had been living in the Kansas City area.

Described by a friend and former business partner as “goofy, smart, talented, creative and genuine,” Watson wrote and recorded hip hop and freestyle rap music and had hoped to promote a clothing line under the brand name FRNDS, which stood for “forever reach and never downplay success.”

Two weeks ago, another shooting at another Lake Ozark bar left one man dead and four wounded after rival motorcycle gangs clashed. One man was charged with first degree assault and armed criminal action after allegedly shooting a man who had shot at him outside Casablanca Pub & Grille on the Bagnell Dam strip. At least one other was arrested for illegally possessing a gun.

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