Road rage? Mistaken identity? Questions raised in Vegas case

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Arrest in Las Vegas Road Rage Shooting


LAS VEGAS (AP) - It initially sounded like horrific fatal road rage: A Las Vegas mother of four who just finished giving her 15-year-old daughter a driving lesson followed by a driver they encountered on their way home, shot to death in front of their house.

But a police report released Friday gave a more detailed account of the late Feb. 12 incident, and raised new questions about whether the slaying of 44-year-old Tammy Meyers was truly a case of road rage or a neighborhood dispute that spiraled out of control.

The suspected gunman turned out to be a 19-year-old, who lived less than a block away and attended a nearby high school with two of Tammy Meyers' sons in 2011-2012.

Meyers' husband, Robert Meyers, said his wife even tried to counsel Erich Milton Nowsch Jr. after his father committed suicide five years ago.

Nowsch wasn't driving, and didn't tell his friends he was angry about a traffic encounter. He said he thought someone was after him, according to the police report.

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Road rage? Mistaken identity? Questions raised in Vegas case
PRESS RELEASE: UPDATE ~ Second Suspect Arrested in Tammy Meyers Homicide #LVMPDnews http://t.co/7VieOaML62 http://t.co/POtbTCpLvl
In this photo released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, an unidentified police official leads a shirtless suspect in the road-rage killing of a Las Vegas mother from a car to police headquarters for questioning in Las Vegas, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015. Police did not release the male suspect's name or discuss his possible involvement in the killing of 44-year-old Tammy Meyers. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Erich Nowsch Jr. appears in a Las Vegas courtroom for his initial court appearance Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, in Las Vegas. Nowsch remains jailed following his arrest Friday on murder, attempted murder and other charges in the Feb. 12 shooting that fatally wounded 44-year-old Tammy Meyers outside her home. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 19: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Best quality available) In this handout provided by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Erich Nowsch II poses for his mugshot after being arrested on murder charges on February 19, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nowsch, 19, was arrested after a two-hour standoff and has been charged with killing Tammy Meyers on February 12, with whom he had allegedly been involved in a road-rage incident. (Photo by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department via Getty Images)
This undated artist rendition provided by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shows a composite sketch of a suspect police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying, whom they believed was involved in a road rage shooting in Las Vegas on Feb. 12, 2015. A Las Vegas mother of four killed in a road rage shooting last week got in her car with her adult son and his gun and drove around their neighborhood looking for the assailant who ended up shooting her in a residential cul-de-sac, police said Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. In a change from earlier accounts, police said 44-year-old Tammy Meyers had her teenage daughter run in the house to fetch her armed son, who then went with her as she drove to find the driver who had earlier stopped his car in front of hers, got out and approached her with angry words. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Appearing in court Monday, Erich Nowsch says he was threatened by Tammy Meyers and her son when he shot the mother out of self-defense. On the other side, Meyer's husband says his wife was followed home and murdered. Conflicting stories as this case appears in court.
Robert Meyers speaks to media outside his house, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015 in Las Vegas. His wife Tammy who was teaching her 14-year-old daughter to drive was shot in the head and was not expected to survive after an apparent road-rage attack by an angry driver who followed them to their Las Vegas home. (AP Photo/Kimberly Pierceall)
Silas Doane, left, and Robert Meyers exit a Las Vegas courthouse following a hearing for Meyers' wife's accused killer, Erich Nowsch Jr. on Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, in Las Vegas. Nowsch is accused of killing Tammy Meyers on Feb. 12. in what has been described as a road-rage incident. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Las Vegas Justice Court Judge Conrad Hafen presides over a hearing for Erich Nowsch Jr. on Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, in Las Vegas. Nowsch is accused of killing Tammy Meyers on Feb. 12. in what has been described as a road-rage incident. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Robert Meyers, left, the widower of Tammy Meyers, attends a hearing for his wife's accused killer, Erich Nowsch Jr. in court Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, in Las Vegas. Nowsch remains jailed following his arrest Friday on murder, attempted murder and other charges in the Feb. 12 shooting that fatally wounded 44-year-old Tammy Meyers outside her home. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Erich Nowsch Jr. appears in a Las Vegas courtroom for his initial court appearance Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, in Las Vegas. Nowsch remains jailed following his arrest Friday on murder, attempted murder and other charges in the Feb. 12 shooting that fatally wounded 44-year-old Tammy Meyers outside her home. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
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It wasn't immediately clear how authorities came to suspect Nowsch in the shooting, but the police report said he was questioned Tuesday, five days after the shooting and three days after Tammy Meyers was taken off life support.

Nowsch was being held at the time in juvenile custody on unspecified unrelated charges.

Police said Nowsch told his friends after the shooting that he was a passenger in a silver Audi and saw a gun waved at him from a green car in a middle school parking lot and thought the occupants were after him.

Police said Meyers had taken her daughter, Kristal, to the school parking lot to practice driving the family's green 1993 Buick Park Avenue sedan. After Kristal tried her skills on some nearby residential streets, Tammy Meyers hopped back into the driver's seat at about 10:50 p.m. to drive home.

That's when a silver car sped up behind them and then pulled alongside, according to the police report.

Kristal told authorities she reached over to honk the car horn as her mother kept driving.

The silver car cut in front of them, but Tammy Meyers turned down another street, according to police. The silver car popped up again, passing in a bike lane next to the curb and spinning out sideways in front of them, forcing the Buick to stop, according to the report.

Kristal Meyers told police later that a 6-foot-tall man got out and warned: "I'm gonna come back for you and your daughter."

Nowsch is about 5-foot-3 and 100 pounds.

Kristal said her mother hit the gas, sped around the silver car, and headed home.

The daughter told police she thought she spotted the silver car again before they reached home, where her mother told her to run in and get her 22-year-old brother, Brandon.

Brandon Meyers told police he grabbed his Beretta 9mm handgun, but told his mother she should call 911. He said he got in the car when she told him to come with her or she was going alone.

Tammy Meyers then drove to where the silver car had blocked their Buick to show her son, then began heading toward home when they spotted a silver car that sped off, according to the report.

They followed for several blocks, passing the middle school again, before the silver car stopped diagonally in the road and Brandon Meyers told police someone on the passenger side starting shooting.

Tammy Meyers backed up and sped toward their home, Brandon Meyers told police. As they pulled up, Brandon Meyers said he saw headlights approaching their cul-de-sac. The silver car turned onto their street.

As the silver car approached, Brandon Meyers told police a person leaned out the passenger window and opened fire.

Brandon Meyers fired three shots shot back, police said. The silver car backed out of the cul-de-sac and disappeared.

Brandon Meyers found his mother lying on the ground, bleeding from the head, and called 911.

The police report doesn't name the driver of the silver Audi. But authorities have said they are looking for another suspect.

Two friends said that Nowsch came to their apartment about 3:30 a.m. and told them that he had been involved in a shooting - unloading several shot at one location, and 22 shots in a second fusillade, according to the police report.

Police reported finding six .45-caliber bullet casings at the first shooting location, and eight in the cul-de-sac near the Meyers home. They also reported finding three 9mm casings in the cul-de-sac.

Nowsch told his friends he thought the people in the car in the school parking lot were looking at him, and said he called a friend with the silver Audi to come and pick him up, according to the report.

Nowsch displayed a handgun and .45-caliber ammunition to his friends and said he started shooting because he thought he saw a gun being pointed at him from the green car, according to the report.

"Got those kids," he told his friends, according to the report. "They were after me, and I got them."

Nowsch remained jailed Friday pending an initial court appearance Monday on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and firing a gun from a vehicle. It wasn't clear if he had a lawyer.

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Watson reported from San Diego. Associated Press writers Brian Skoloff and Alina Hartounian in Phoenix and researchers Barbara Sambriski and Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

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