Update: Four years after the brutal murder of 22-year-old Christopher Bryant Jr. outside an Aurora sports bar and the serious wounding of his friend, Demetrey Adams, the last of three people charged in the shooting has finally been sentenced. Daeshaun Howard, who is now 22, is the second conspirator to be given life without the possibility of parole for a crime that prosecutors say took place after Bryant danced with a woman who'd been with Howard and company.
Our previous coverage, originally published on April 16, 2013 — the day after the Aurora Police Department identified Bryant — has been incorporated into this post.
Nicknamed "Scrapp," Bryant was the father of a young daughter he clearly adored. Her name is Cynayah, and she was three years old at the time of his death, which took place following his visit to Primo's Sports Bar and Grill, 1443 Chester Street, on the evening of April 12.
Around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, the 13th, Bryant stepped outside the venue with Adams, known to friends as Metrey.
About ten minutes later, according to Aurora police, officers responded to a call about two men down in the Primo's parking lot. They soon discovered that both Bryant and Adams were suffering from multiple gunshot wounds — and a crowd estimated at 100 people had gathered, with some members described as "being unruly and interfering."
Hence, additional police officers and Aurora Fire Department personnel were requested, and with their help, the shooting victims were transported to the hospital. Bryant soon died of his injuries, while Adams survived.
Bryant shared his last Facebook post the day before he died; the message was about hanging out and having a good time. Bereft friends picked up on this theme when they posted after his death. Here are some examples:
OMG my heart is broken. i can't believe this is your last post that your goin to post because u r no longer with us. At least u were havin a good time with ur homies. You will be in my prayers. Love and miss u tons. R.I.P
R.I.P Chris..... I'm glad u had ur final moments with ur bro's before u were called home.....
I'm happy beckuz I kno u were happy.... I smile beckuz I think of ur smile.... soon memories will fade and we'll grow old... n u will still stay young n so handsome with a smile n a heart that could float a boat. You deserved nuthing but the best and that's why ur in heaven. Only the best of the best make it there and god had a bigger n better plan for u. I just wish I was there ta see you shine on.
On another page, a family member posted this:
As a family we taking things one-step at a time. And together we will overcome this and get the Justice that Christopher "Scrapp" deserves, but as of right now we are slowly healing. I love you guys, please don't EVER forget that!!! #InDueTimeWeWillOverCome
The crime remained unsolved for months. But finally, in January 2014, three men were arrested: Howard, then nineteen, Christopher Williams, then 21, and Jovonte Jiles, then seventeen.
Released concurrently was an arrest affidavit for Jiles that was obtained by the Aurora Sentinel. The document noted that a rap concert and birthday party had taken place at Primo's on the night in question, with witnesses saying some arguments (but no physical fights) had been sparked between members of rival gangs in attendance.
Also on hand, the police report stated, were Howard, Williams and Jiles, accompanied by an unidentified woman. Over the course of the evening, the woman reportedly got drunk and danced with several other men, including Bryant — something thought to have angered the trio that had come to Primo's with her.
Surveillance video cited in the affidavit subsequently showed the three men and the woman walking to a car, where an object or objects were grabbed. At that point, the woman ran down the street, leaving the trio to approach a group of people who were smoking outside the venue.
Before long, gunfire erupted, with bullet casings from two different weapons later found at the scene.
Jiles, who was a juvenile at the time of the shooting, was the first to receive punishment. The 18th Judicial District DA's office notes that he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder after deliberation, and in September 2014, he was sent to the Department of Youth Corrections for a seven-year stretch.
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More than two years later, in December 2016, Williams was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on his own first-degree murder charge. Months later, a jury took less than three hours to hand the same jolt to Howard.
Afterward, 18th Judicial District DA George Brauchler released the following statement: "Alcohol, ego and malice helped to turn a bar confrontation into a cowardly ambush resulting in one murder, one attempted murder, and two life sentences. Justice here was the product of a phenomenal team effort on behalf of innocent victims. Daeshaun Howard cowardly ambushed these unsuspecting victims. He'll have a lifetime to think about that decision and the harm he caused."
Here's a look at Howard's booking photo.
Editor's note: A sentence in the original version of this story mistakenly implied that Adams had been with the woman in question on the night of the shooting. It has now been corrected. We regret the error.