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UPDATE: Council president accused of shooting at teens; attorney says it was 'citizen's arrest'

UPDATE: Council president accused of shooting at teens; attorney says it was 'citizen's arrest'


EAST CHICAGO — Gary City Council President Ron Brewer was arrested over the weekend on allegations he tracked down his stolen vehicle Sunday night, fired a gun at two teenagers and kidnapped and drove one of the teens to Gary. 

"We don't know if these are the kids who stole his car, so for him not to contact us and for him to take the law into his own hand, he can't do that," East Chicago Deputy Police Chief Jose Rivera said Monday morning. "Even though the kids may have committed a crime, he doesn’t have the right to take a child in his vehicle and back to Gary." 

Brewer is being held at the East Chicago jail on probable cause for criminal recklessness and kidnapping, Rivera said. 

Scott King, Brewer's attorney, said there is a state statute that permits a citizen's arrest if there is probable cause to believe a felony has been committed.

"So he was under the law," King said. "He was justified in placing this person in custody."

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said Monday she was deeply concerned about Brewer's arrest and the nature of the allegations.

"This action is not consistent with the nature of his character," Freeman-Wilson said. "We work daily in an effort to improve public safety and to decrease gunfire in our community, and we are thankful that no one was injured in this event.

"We look forward to a full investigation of the case involving Councilman Brewer, and I encourage the community reserve any conclusions until the investigation is complete."

Brewer filed a police report sometime Sunday night with the Gary Police Department after his vehicle was stolen from a location in Gary, Rivera said.

He and his wife then allegedly tracked his vehicle to the 4200 block of Indianapolis Boulevard in East Chicago with "some type of phone app," Rivera said.

"When he found it, there were two teenagers inside the vehicle. He confronted them. We don't know all the details yet, but he pulled out a gun and shot at them," Rivera said.

The vehicle, found with bullet holes, was impounded, Rivera said. The city's ShotSpotter technology indicated gunfire went off in the vicinity, he added.

When Brewer allegedly fired the shots, the teenagers sped off, Rivera said. Brewer returned to the vehicle he drove to East Chicago and allegedly chased them down, he added.

“At some point, the kids bailed, and he caught one of them. Then he put the kid in his own car, and takes the kid to Gary,” Rivera said.

He was arrested after the incident by East Chicago police, Rivera said.

Rivera did not immediately know if Brewer was licensed to carry a weapon. He said the department is investigating.

King said Brewer tracked the car to East Chicago because credit cards that were inside were fraudulently used in Hammond and East Chicago. Brewer was stopped by police before arriving at the Gary Police Department with one of the teens, he said.

King said if Brewer's actions weren't justified, "then every arrest by a police officer is a criminal confinement."

King said he went to the East Chicago Police Department late Sunday to speak with Brewer, but police didn't allow him to see his client. He first spoke with Brewer midday Monday, he said.

"In my opinion, that's a violation of his federal and state civil rights," King said.

Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter confirmed he was in contact Monday morning with the East Chicago Police Department about Brewer's case.

He said expects to hear back from them as early as Monday about potential charges. 

He said while he is waiting on more information from authorities, this appears to be a matter of Brewer allegedly "taking the law into his own hands." 

Check back at as this story develops.

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North Lake County Reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting from UIS. Contact her at or 219-933-3206.

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