"I seen when he was struggling for his life;" friend of SB homicide victim speaks

NOW: “I seen when he was struggling for his life;“ friend of SB homicide victim speaks


A soon-to-be father of three was shot and killed in his home Wednesday night. His roommate survived his gunshot wounds. Now, his friends are sharing what they remember moments before he died.

The father who was shot and killed is 31-year-old Joseph Brown.

His roommate, 29-year-old Dustin Bierwagen, suffered minor injuries and has been released from the hospital.

Joe Brown’s next door neighbor heard the entire shooting.

He says he heard gunshots late at night Wednesday and then a heartbreaking scream.

He dropped to the floor terrified and grabbed his own glock for protection.

He and his neighbors say they still can’t believe Brown is gone.

“I seen when he was struggling for his life. I actually seen it with my own eyes. I was sitting there right in his living room, like, I didn’t know what was going on for a second, but I knew what was going on,” said Brown’s neighbor and longtime friend, Walter Spansail.

Spansail said he ran over to the house when he heard screams.

“So this girl that was there came out screaming, something, you know screaming crying. We were like what the f***?” he said.

Metro Homicide is investigating the shooting as a home invasion, but neighbors don’t believe that’s what happened.

“This stuff don’t seem right. It doesn’t seem right, fully to me. The paperwork ain’t adding up, I’ll tell you the truth,” said Spansail.

As detectives dig through the evidence, Brown’s friends stare helplessly at the crime scene, still struggling to cope.

“Last conversation? It had to be like three, four, three four hours before it happened, maybe um, oh man, I can’t, I can’t talk about that,” said Spansail.

They’re asking ‘what if?’

“There’s kids all up and down these blocks. It could have been any one of us. It could have been the kids. I mean, that’s horrible. That’s horrible. My son is a year and a half old, and he is such a mama’s boy, and I can’t imagine what he would have gone through, and what he would feel if that would have been me,” said Brown’s friend, Burgundy Enders.

And they still don’t understand why the shooting happened in the first place.

“Who would do this to Joe Brown? He’ll make your day, like great guy. He’ll do anything for you,” said Spansail.

Detectives are still searching for suspects.

Witnesses say they saw two men running away from the scene, but as of now, investigators have no other leads.

This homicide marks the 11th violent death South Bend has seen this year.

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