Unexpected video trail led police to nightclub shooter

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ST. LOUIS – A St. Charles man was sentenced Wednesday to nearly five years in prison after being tied to a shooting outside a St. Louis nightclub.

Video emerged in court of the shooting that occurred in the back of the former Reign nightclub on Washington Avenue. It began as an argument in August 2021, when you can see a man in a white tank top. Prosecutors say that man had been paroled about a year earlier for another shooting.

On the video, from a nearby parking lot, you can see the shooter walk backward while firing at people. Two people were hit but they survived.

Investigators said other videos proved invaluable. It came out in court that work by a St. Louis police detective on the Non-Fatal Shooting Team was key to solving the case.

That unit found a man matching the shooter’s description running to a nearby parking garage. You can see in the video that he’s armed. He uses a keycard to enter the structure.

Another video shows him driving out of the garage in a white Dodge Charger; again, he uses a key card.

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Police tied those videos to Deantre Brown, 34.

“Not only did he use it the day of the incident, but he had it months later and it was his girlfriend’s mother’s key card,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Szczucinski said. “I think in this case he thought he got away with a crime, and it wasn’t a big deal. He never thought investigators would be looking at things like key cards.”

An ATF arrest months later reportedly found that same key card in Brown’s bedroom, as well as a box of ammunition with a code that matched shell casings found at the shooting scene.

Brown denied he was the shooter and pleaded guilty to two counts of being a felon in possession of ammunition. The judge sentenced him to 57 months, just under five years in prison. The judge added that Brown is lucky he’s not facing murder charges.

“The judge is right. He’s very lucky he didn’t kill somebody. We’ve seen homicides with less,” Szczucinski said. “He fired a number of shots. People returned fire. And I think the big concern in this situation is how many people were armed and that people are willing to open fire in a public place over what appears to be a disturbance outside of a nightclub.

Brown thanked nine people in the courtroom who came in support of him. He said he loved all of them and will continue to be a good friend, family member, and father figure as he finishes out his near-five-year prison term.


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