LAS VEGAS (AP) — The tale of a Las Vegas mother of four who was shot to death after a neighborhood car chase took yet another turn Monday when her husband and attorneys for a neighbor charged with murder said they doubt the incident stemmed from road rage.
“My wife was followed home and murdered,” Robert Meyers told The Associated Press after an initial court appearance by 19-year-old suspect Erich Milton Nowsch Jr.
Nowsch was arrested Friday, a little more than a week after 44-year-old Tammy Meyers was killed by gunfire that police say came from a silver car that pursued Meyers and her 22-year-old son, Brandon Meyers, to a cul-de-sac outside their home.
Meyers thinks his wife was trying to lead pursuers away from the family home — a theory that would add another dimension to the case already marked by conflicting and incomplete accounts from police and the Meyers family.
Initially the family told police the shooting followed a confrontation with another motorist.
One twist came when family members and police revealed last week that Tammy Meyers dropped her daughter at home and recruited her son, who had a registered handgun, to drive around their neighborhood in the family’s green Buick Park Avenue sedan in search of the motorist who confronted her.
Robert Meyers, 49, was out of state when the shooting happened late Feb. 12. He said he thinks his wife was frightened by the initial encounter with a motorist who blocked her way and threatened her and her teenage daughter while they headed home from a driving lesson at a neighborhood school.
A tire-squealing confrontation and gunfire followed several blocks from home before the fatal shooting several houses away from the Meyers home.
“I don’t know what she saw,” Robert Meyers said. “She’s dead. I can’t ask her. But this was intentional — to kill the person in the green car.”
Officer Larry Hadfield, a Las Vegas police spokesman, declined to comment on the change of accounts, and whether Tammy Meyers’ death resulted from a random road-rage shooting as it first appeared.
Meyers said his wife and Nowsch knew each other well enough that the teen hitched up his saggy shorts when she approached him in a park, so she wouldn’t have to tell him to do so.
It’s not clear if they recognized each other during the fatal confrontation. Robert Meyers said Nowsch was probably familiar with the family Buick but might not have seen it since the windows were tinted dark last summer.
Nowsch is charged with murder, attempted murder and firing a weapon from a vehicle. He wasn’t asked to enter a plea Monday and didn’t say a word as he stood shackled in a courtroom packed with media for his brief initial court appearance.
Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen scheduled a March 10 preliminary hearing to determine if Nowsch should stand trial.
Nowsch’s lawyers, brothers Conrad Claus and Augustus Claus, said outside court they also don’t believe the case involved road rage. They want to review police reports and video evidence before talking more about the defense.
Police said Nowsch told friends he was at the park and became alarmed by a vehicle he thought was following him, so he called a friend to pick him up.
Police also said Nowsch bragged to friends several hours after the shooting that he “got those kids, they were after me, and I got them.”
Nowsch showed his friends a.45-caliber handgun and told them he fired several shots in the first encounter and 22 shots in the cul-de-sac, authorities said.
Robert Meyers and police said Brandon Meyers fired three shots during the second shooting. It wasn’t clear if he hit a silver Audi with Nowsch and at least one other person inside, police said.
Nowsch lived with his single mother and her 1-month-old baby girl about a block from the Meyers home.
Tammy Meyers served as a mother figure to youngsters about the same age as her children, now 15 to 22, Meyers said, and two of Meyers’ sons attended high school with Nowsch.
Meyers said this wife gave Nowsch $20 when he said he was hungry, and the husband recalled Nowsch earning pocket money washing cars outside the Meyers home.
The teen and the neighborhood mom may have seen each other in passing on the weekend of Feb. 7-8, when Tammy Meyers walked the family dogs in the park where Nowsch often sat at a picnic bench with other teens, Robert Meyers said.
“Bunch of troublemakers,” Robert Meyers said. “I wouldn’t allow my kids to hang out with them.”
Still, he denied there had been any bad blood.
Hadfield said investigators are still trying to locate the silver vehicle’s driver, who has not been identified.