Bryant Brewer | Police mug shot

Bryant Brewer guilty in fatal shooting of CPD officer

SHARE Bryant Brewer guilty in fatal shooting of CPD officer
SHARE Bryant Brewer guilty in fatal shooting of CPD officer

Bryant Brewer was found guilty Tuesday of killing Chicago Police Officer Thor Soderberg five years ago.

Brewer was found guilty of several charges, including first degree murder of a police officer by Cook County Judge Tim Joyce after a bench trial that started last week at the George Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

Brewer will be sentenced Sept. 9, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. Brewer’s public defender could not be reached late Tuesday.

Soderberg’s widow, Jennifer Loudon, said after court that Brewer won’t be able to hurt anyone else. “Speaking for widows everywhere, it doesn’t take away the pain. It doesn’t erase the difficulty of going on with life,” she told WLS-Channel 7.

Brewer shot Soderberg in the parking lot of a police station in Englewood after a scuffle on July 7, 2010. Brewer testified last week that he hopped a fence to cut through the police parking lot as a shortcut, when Soderberg began pistol-whipping him. As they fought, Soderberg dropped his gun, Brewer testified. Brewer said he grabbed the gun and shot Soderberg three times before another officer shot Brewer in the chest.

Prosecutors said Brewer was “filled with hatred” and on the lookout for a policeman when the slaying happened.


Officer Thor Soderberg was fatally shot in 2010. | File photo

The defense contended that Brewer’s judgment was seriously impaired from a brain injury he suffered during the scuffle with Soderberg.

On Monday, a psychiatrist testifying for the defense said that Brewer appeared confused and inattentive shortly after the shooting.

But Dr. Mathew Markos, who heads Cook County’s Forensic Clinical Services, testified Tuesday that he saw no evidence of brain trauma.

He said Brewer appeared “alert” and that he spoke “coherently” when asked to describe what had happened on July 7, 2010.

Markos said Brewer told him that he shot Soderberg “because I was pissed off with the officer.”

Brewer also said he knew he was committing a crime but thought Soderberg was “gonna do me in,” Markos testified.

Markos said he had reviewed Brewer’s mental health records since he has been locked up. Even though at least one mental health professional had diagnosed Brewer as being schizophrenic, Markos said that diagnosis had changed with time.

Markos noted that some doctors suggested Brewer’s odd behavior while awaiting trial — including claiming to hear voices and wanting to kill himself — were exaggerated attempts to secure better housing while behind bars.

In August 2013, Brewer allegedly threatened some jail guards, saying, “I’m gonna smoke you m—–f—— when I get out. I’m a cop killer,” Markos testified.

Markos said the boast indicated Brewer has shown “no remorse whatsoever.”

Later in the day, defense attorney William Wolf asked Markos why he thought Brewer showed no remorse.

“Did you ask him if he was happy Officer Soderberg was dead?” Wolf said.

Markos said he hadn’t asked that question specifically, saying he doesn’t reach conclusions based on the answer to one question alone.

“There’s ample evidence he has no remorse,” Markos shot back.

“Except Bryant Brewer’s own words to you?” Wolf said.

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