WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Kambria Brewer said she was getting ready to pick her 2-year-old daughter Khalise up from a visit with the little girl’s father when the call came. She handed the phone to her mom.
“Soon as I heard them on the phone, I knew,” Brewer said. “I was just running and screaming.”
Khalise was dead. She had been shot, apparently by her father.
“I cannot imagine. I can’t. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it,” Brewer said. “I cannot believe it. I cannot believe it. I can’t believe it.”
She spoke to News 8 Thursday as she fed her other daughter, only 2 weeks old.
“She looks like Khalise when Khalise was younger,” Brewer said of the baby.
The shooting happened around 6:20 p.m. Wednesday in the upstairs unit of a property on Meyer Avenue between Porter and 28th streets in Wyoming. Police said officers responded to a report of shots fired and found the toddler dead.
Police say the man who shot Khalise turned the gun on himself. He is expected to survive.
“This is one of the most tragic examples of gun violence that I have ever seen in my career,” Wyoming Department of Public Safety Chief Kim Koster said during a Thursday afternoon press conference, also offering her agency’s condolences to Khalise’s family.
The suspect was hospitalized under police guard, with the chief saying he “poses a threat” and that her department wanted to ensure he had no chance to escape. Arraignment has been scheduled for Friday, though Koster did not say exactly what charges he was expected to face.
The chief released few details, citing an active investigation. She would not say what led up to the shooting or what the motive may have been. She said it “was not accidental” but stopped just short of saying it was a murder-attempted suicide.
Koster also wouldn’t say how many shots were fired or provide any information about the gun, though she did say it had been recovered.
A woman who lives in the downstairs apartment at the property says she was in bed when she heard gunfire.
“It came through my ceiling,” Dianna Jordan said. “The bullet while I was watching a movie.”
She said it missed her by a foot.
News 8 is not using the suspect’s name because he has not yet been formally charged. Michigan State Police records show he was convicted of felony armed robbery in Grand Rapids in 2012 and a weapons felony in Allegan County in 2020 and that he was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence in Grand Rapids in June 2021. He is still on parole for the 2012 armed robbery conviction. The Michigan Department of Corrections says his first stint in prison ran from February 2013 to January 2019, when he was paroled. He was imprisoned again in January 2020 and paroled in January 2021.
His felony convictions mean he should not have had a gun.
“I just want to ask him why. Why our daughter? You could have got me. If you felt overwhelmed, you could have gave her up to police, you could have gave her up to me,” Brewer said. “Why?”
Court records show a paternity test proved the suspect is Khalise’s father. In December, the court ordered him to pay $167 per month in child support, records show.
“He was mad about child support, but I was just telling him, child support doesn’t matter,” Brewer said.
She said he wasn’t angry enough to make her worried.
“That’s why I allowed her to go there because I never, I never in a million years would have expected him to hurt our child,” she said.
The police chief said Wyoming DPS had not previously been called to the Meyer Avenue address, but also noted that the residents had lived there for only about three months. A total of three people were in the apartment when the shooting happened; the third was not in the same room, Koster said.
Khalise didn’t live there. Brewer said she dropped her daughter off Monday for a visit with her father. She was getting ready to get her Wednesday evening.
“I tried to get a hold of him, get a hold of him. I’m not getting an answer. And so I’m like, I have to go pick her up, I have to go pick her up,” Brewer said.
Brewer said she had recently started teaching Khalise about her inner beauty and installed a mirror just for her.
“I was trying to instill in her that Khalise is beautiful, Khalise is beautiful, so every time she looked in that mirror, she was smiling,” Brewer said.
“Anybody who met her, her light was so bright, almost too bright for this world,” Khalise’s grandmother, Emily Heynen, said. “The world wasn’t ready for her.”
VIGIL PAYS TRIBUTE TO KHALISE
The family of Khalise held a vigil Thursday night outside the home where she lost her life. People lit candles, released balloons and made a memorial on the porch in her memory.
Khalise’s mother spoke to the crowd, overwhelmed with grief.
“Everybody she met she made smile,” Brewer said. “I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe Khalise is gone.”
The family says there will always be a permanent hole in their lives with the loss of their beloved girl.
“Khalise is going to be remembered forever, forever. Khalise was two years old. Brought so much joy, adventurous, outgoing, and beautiful,” Brewer said.
The family has created a GoFundMe to help cover funeral expenses.
— News 8’s Kyle Mitchell contributed to this report.
*Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly said the suspect had previously been charged with sexual assault; it was actually a domestic violence charge. We regret the error, which has been corrected.