Detective killed in standoff laid to rest
Clermont County officer, a 20-year veteran, died Feb. 2.
BATAVIA — A Clermont County deputy who was killed in the line of duty was laid to rest Friday.
Detective Bill Brewer, a 20-year veteran of the Clermont County Sheriff ’s Office, was shot and killed in a standoff in Pierce Township on Feb. 2. Brewer leaves behind a wife and a 5-year-old son.
Brewer’s funeral services were held Mt. Carmel Christian Church.
Sheriff Steve Leahy said he was “devastated” by Brewer’s death.
“How can I not be, when I know that Bill’s family is not OK, and my staff is not OK?” he said.
Leahy praised Brewer, saying he would have wanted Brewer to be the one who responded if his own family members were ever in need. He thanked all the other first responders who also worked the Pierce Township standoff, and all those who have offered support since.
“Bill is gone from us today, but his life and service will never be forgotten,” Leahy said.
The sheriff also harshly addressed Brewer’s alleged killer, Wade Winn, who is being held in the Clermont County Jail.
Winn, 23, shot Brewer and Lt. Nick DeRose as they entered his apartment on Feb. 2, police said. Brewer and DeRose went into the building because they believed Winn was suicidal.
“Deputy Brewer gave his life attempting to help a person who was admittedly suicidal,” Leahy said in a statement. “This will forever change the atmosphere of the Clermont County Sheriff ’s Office.”
DeRose was treated and released from University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Winn, Clermont County Chief Criminal Prosecutor Darren Miller said at Winn’s arraignment Monday. Winn’s attorney said he has a mental disability.
Leahy was one of the many Clermont County officials in court Monday. He said Brewer’s death has had a profound impact on the department.
“Bill was an outstanding man. Twenty years. He was a good father. A good husband. A good friend. A good employee,” Leahy said. “He’s what this country needs more of. Some dirt bag has taken this away from everybody.”
As the funeral procession wound its way to Pierce Township Cemetery on Friday, it passed hundreds of people who lines the roads with blue ribbons and American flags.
Jennifer Harcourt was among the onlookers. She said she went to high school with Brewer for a year.
“He was a great guy,” she said.
Sarah Gadbury also watched the procession going by, holding a sign that read, “Honoring the ultimate sacrifice.” She’s friends with DeRose, and they are the godparents of each other’s children.
“It’s sort of surreal,” she said. “It’s good to see all the people who came out to support our law enforcement and the people who put their lives on the lines every day.”
Linda Rathbone watched the procession from the Wilfert Drive overpass.
“It’s a tragedy,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking.”
The community has rallied in support of Brewer in the days after his death. Hundreds of people, including Gov. Mike DeWine, attended Brewer’s public visitation on Thursday.
A former police officer who now owns a T-shirt shop is printing shirts to raise money for Brewer’s family. Williamsburg Middle School and High School is hosting a spaghetti dinner fundraiser from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday.
The casket of Detective Bill Brewer, a 20-year veteran of the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office, is brought out of Mt. Carmel Christian Church during funeral ceremonies Friday in Batavia. Authorities in the Cincinnati region are reeling after the deaths of five police officers in less than two months.