Friends remember Tim Beaty

By Bill Lukitsch, @Bill_LukitschDE

Tim Beaty was the kind of drummer who would take the stage in his underwear.

“That’s just the way he played,” said Jacky Schmedt, a longtime friend of the Carbondale man whose sudden death has shocked and rattled friends and family in the area.

“He was the kind of person that anytime you felt you were out of place somewhere, you weren’t out of place because you were hanging out with him,” she said. “He’d find a way to bring you in to feel comfortable wherever you were.” 

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A house party on the 400 block of West Walnut Street ended in gunfire about 2 a.m. Sunday following an altercation, according to Carbondale police. Beaty, 41, was an uninvolved bystander struck and killed by a stray bullet while in his bed at home, police said.

MORE: One dead, another wounded after gunfire at Carbondale party

He leaves behind a 5-year-old son.

“I just felt like the light in my heart turned off,” Schmedt said of how she felt learning the news. “I mean, what a freak accident. Accident is not even the right word … he should’ve been at the concert across the street, he should have been at Lost Cross closing it down or with his friends.”

After the news broke, friends of Beaty gathered near the two places he frequented: the Lost Cross house and PK’s bar. Beaty, who moved to Carbondale in 2000, played drums and hung out at Lost Cross, a popular music venue in Carbondale. 

“We’re a PK’s family,” Shmedt said. “It starts at PK’s and it spreads out, and you just build up friendship with folks those who become a part of your life.”

It was easier for Walter Witkewiz, a longtime friend of Beaty’s who works as a bartender at PK’s, to count the days he didn’t spend time with Beaty than the ones he did. 

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“He definitely had a personal mug,” Witkewiz said. “We kept it full [Sunday] at the bar and kept drinking out of it for him.”

Now, that mug rests near a candle and portrait on Witkewiz’s side of the bar.

Beaty was remembered by many as a spectacular musician, good friend and loving father. Dozens posted on his Facebook wall in the hours after he was found to swap favorite memories and highlight moments true to Beaty’s character.

Everything from details about good nights at Lost Cross to his fandom for professional wrestling can be found in the posts.

Hannah White said she first met Beaty during a show at Lost Cross two years ago when she was new to town. He made a point to introduce her to new people, she said.

“[Beaty] was just a really sweet dude and, from hearing everybody else’s stories, he was great just to have in the scene,” said White, a senior from Pekin studying art.

Carbondale Police arrested Dwayne Dunn Jr., 21, of St. Louis, on Sunday in connection with the shooting at the party. Dunn, who not an SIU student, faces a single felony count of reckless discharge of a firearm for “shooting into the sky in a populated neighborhood,” according to court records. 

The charges against Dunn are subject to change and police are conducting a forensic investigation, Sgt. Corey Kemp said during a press conference Monday. A preliminary hearing for Dunn is scheduled April 21.

Two more suspects are wanted in connection to the shooting, but police did not provide descriptive details about the men.

“Utter shock, disbelief, horror, devastation,” said longtime friend Amy Graziano, remembering her reaction to the news. “It was just absolutely unfathomable and still is.”

She added it is ironic the way Beaty died considering his position on gun control and his activism to bring attention to the issue of gun violence.

“He would never do something so irresponsible,” said Graziano, who graduated from SIU with a master’s degree in poetry in 2007. “He really was an extremely peaceful guy.”

Beaty’s death reminded Graziano of another friend of the group, Matthew Dierker, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2014. Candles were lit for Dierker on the front porch of Lost Cross the day he died. It was Beaty’s idea, she said.

“We lit candles on [the] Lost Cross porch last night,” Graziano said.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact the Carbondale Police Department at (618) 457-3200 or Crime Stoppers at (618) 549-COPS (2677).

Anna Spoerre contributed to this report.

Bill Lukitsch can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3329.

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