Amid reports that more explosives had been discovered, a Hazmat team returned Tuesday afternoon to a house on Sharon Amity Road where explosive devices and a man’s body were found Monday.
Police identified the dead man as Alva Richard Brewer, 65, and announced that they were treating his death as a homicide. They have not released any details about a suspect or a potential motive in the killing. Investigators have also not said how many explosive devices had been found, although neighbors and media have reported as many as seven pipe bombs had been recovered.
And neighbors – some of whom had to be evacuated overnight because of the bombs – tried to reconcile their memories of the quiet house painter who cared for his ailing sister with the images of police officers removing evidence and explosives from Brewer’s property.
“Yesterday, there were some sirens, but there are always sirens for fender benders on this road,” said Debbie Howell, who grew up across Sharon Amity Road from Brewer’s house. “But this time they stopped in front of the house and stayed there. Nothing like this has ever gone on in this neighborhood.”
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Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said officers were called shortly before 3 p.m. Monday to the house, in the 1000 block of North Sharon Amity Road, after Brewer’s body was discovered by a friend.
While officers were in the house, they reported finding “suspicious items” that appeared to be homemade explosive devices.
Police evacuated nearby homes and called in the bomb squad. Investigators said the suspicious-looking devices were moved to another location. Residents were permitted back into their homes about 4 a.m. Tuesday, and nearby roads were reopened.
Late Tuesday afternoon, police still had one lane of traffic closed in each direction near the house, mostly to make room for the emergency vehicles. An ambulance waited on standby.
Brewer’s family members could not be reached for comment on Tuesday night. Howell, who is in her 40s, said Brewer had lived at the tan house with a white porch swing since she was a little girl.
He was quiet, but would wave and say hello to neighbors, she said, and once ran across the street to check on a woman whose house had caught on fire.
Howell said she hadn’t seen or heard anything suspicious at Brewer’s place but had never been inside. She remembered one incident with police: Brewer took care of his sister before she died, and she once saw the sister walking around confused outside and called authorities, saying she was afraid the older woman would wander into the street.
But mostly, Howell said, she saw Brewer walking to nearby stores because he didn’t have a car.
Police ask that anyone with information in the case contact detectives at 704-432-TIPS or leave information anonymously with Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.