LAS VEGAS (AP) — Police arrested a second suspect Friday in a shooting in a Las Vegas cul-de-sac that left a mother of four mortally wounded and led to the arrest of a 19-year-old neighbor after what initially appeared to be a road-rage killing.
The arrest of Derrick Andrews, 26, in the slaying of 44-year-old Tammy Meyers became another dizzying development in a case that has brought stunning twists since the Feb. 12 shooting.
Prosecutors allege that Erich Milton Nowsch Jr. fired the shots from a vehicle with Andrews at the wheel.
"If you're a getaway driver, aiding and abetting another to commit a crime, you're equally guilty," District Attorney Steve Wolfson said.
Police initially suspected Meyers was shot in a road rage incident. But days later, investigators revealed she had enlisted her adult son and his gun for a late-night prowl to confront a driver who threatened her on the way home from a mother-daughter driving lesson in a school parking lot.
Andrews' arrest came about an hour after he was named in court along with Nowsch in an updated four-count indictment.
Prosecutor David Stanton later characterized Nowsch as a neighborhood marijuana and anxiety medication dealer who hung out at a park where he encountered schoolchildren and sometimes the woman he is now accused of killing.
The indictment charges Andrews and Nowsch with murder, attempted murder, firing a weapon from a vehicle and conspiracy.
Trial is scheduled May 26 and the defendants could get the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.
Las Vegas defense lawyer Martin Hart said he had spoken with Andrews in recent days but hadn't been hired to defend him. Hart said he might be appointed to the case when Andrews and Nowsch appear for arraignment next Thursday.
Hart declined to comment on the case or the indictment.
Nowsch has pleaded not guilty to the murder, attempted murder and weapon charges. He is expected to plead not guilty to the conspiracy charge that Stanton said stemmed from allegations that Andrews and Nowsch tried to erase their cellphone records to prevent police from linking them to the shooting.
Nowsch's attorney, Augustus Claus, declined comment about the indictment or the arrest of Andrews.
In obtaining a no-bail warrant for Andrews' arrest, Stanton told Clark County District Court Judge Linda Marie Bell that Andrews responded in his silver Audi to a phone call late Feb. 12 from Nowsch in a neighborhood park.
Nowsch feared that a green Buick Park Avenue sedan with tinted windows driving slowly back and forth in a nearby school parking lot was following him, Stanton said.
"He believed the people in the car meant to do him harm," the prosecutor said.
But it was simply a coincidence that Tammy Meyers' 15-year-old daughter, Kristal Meyers, was practicing driving in the lot, Stanton said.
The coincidences mounted when the mother and daughter were driving home and encountered an angry driver in a silver vehicle who blocked their path, got out of his vehicle, and, according to Kristal, threatened them.
Frightened, Tammy Meyers dropped Kristal off at home and instructed her 22-year-old son Brandon Meyers to come with her to find that driver, Stanton said.
The prosecutor said the mother and son encountered Nowsch and Andrews in Andrews' silver sedan.
"From the evidence presented, Mrs. Meyers was mistaken," Stanton said, adding that the cars she encountered that night were similar in color and design but weren't the same ones.
Knowsch fired at least five shots at the green Park Avenue in a first volley of gunfire a couple of blocks from the Meyers home but didn't hit anything, Stanton said.
Andrews is accused of positioning his car so Nowsch could unload what Stanton said police now believe to have been 24 shots at Tammy and Brandon Meyers.
One bullet struck Tammy Meyers in the head. She died at a hospital two days later, on Valentine's Day.