Nevada road rage murder suspect was passenger in car: prosecutor

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(Reuters) - The young man charged with murder in the road-rage killing of a Las Vegas mother of four outside her home earlier this month was a passenger in one of the cars involved in the confrontation and police were still searching for the driver, prosecutors said on Monday.

Police arrested 19-year-old Erich Nowsch last week at his home, just over a block away from the crime scene, after a brief standoff that marked the first break in the case since 44-year-old Tammy Meyers was shot outside her home on Feb. 12.

Police say she was shot minutes after she was involved in a road-rage altercation with the occupants of a silver sedan while heading home after giving her 15-year-old daughter a driving lesson. Meyers died of her wounds two days later.

"This defendant was the passenger, and we are still looking for the driver," Nevada District Attorney Steve Wolfson said after Nowsch made an initial court appearance on Monday on murder, attempted murder and firearms charges. He has yet to enter a plea.

"This young man is charged with a senseless, stupid act of murder, and we are going to prove it in court," Wolfson added, saying that the driver, when found, could be charged with aiding and abetting.

Arrest warrants made public in the case show that Nowsch told two friends he fired 22 times at a green car after a chase through his neighborhood just a few miles from the famed Las Vegas strip, and knew that he had shot someone when it was over.

According to the warrants, Nowsch's two friends told detectives he came to their apartment and told them that he "got those kids, they were after me, and I got them," according to the affidavit. Nowsch also showed them a handgun.

Nowsch denied involvement in the shooting when questioned by police, according to the documents. His lawyer left court on Monday without speaking to reporters.

A preliminary hearing in the case was set for March 10.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Dan Grebler)

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