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Suspect in fatal road-rage shooting knew victim well

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Metro Police

Metro Police said Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, that homicide detectives arrested a suspect in the Feb. 12 road rage shooting death of Tammy Meyers, 44, of Las Vegas. The suspect was identified as Erich Milton Nowsch Jr., 19, of Las Vegas.

Updated Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 | 5:25 p.m.

Arrest Made in Road-Rage Shooting

Metro Police officers and FBI agents stand in the street after a stand-off Feb. 19, 2015. Police arrested a man suspected of being involved in the road rage shooting of 44-year-old Tammy Meyers last week. Launch slideshow »

Candlelight Vigil for Tammy Meyers

Gathering and candlelight vigil for Tammy Meyers who was taken off life support Saturday night, in the parking lot of Walter Johnson Junior High School.on Tuesday, February, 17. 2015. Launch slideshow »

A Las Vegas woman killed last week in a road-rage shooting knew the suspect arrested today and had even given him food and money, the victim’s husband said.

The suspect, Erich Milton Nowsch Jr., 19, had been under surveillance at his northwest valley house, Metro Police said. Officers took him into custody shortly before 1 p.m. in the 7900 block of Cherry River Drive, near Alta and South Buffalo drives.

Nowsch faces counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and discharging a gun within a prohibited area, according to Las Vegas Justice Court records.

Police said this afternoon they also are seeking a second suspect but identified Nowsch as the shooter.

"The real takeaway here is that the suspect involved … is off the streets of Las Vegas," Metro Capt. Chris Tomaino said.

The victim, Tammy Meyers, 44, was shot in the head Feb. 12 outside her house on Mount Shasta Circle. The incident started with an episode of road rage and ended with shots fired from a car and returned by Meyers’ adult son, police said.

Meyers, a mother of four, died Saturday after she was taken off life support at University Medical Center.

Her husband, Robert Meyers, said today his family knew the suspect and that his wife had fed Nowsch and given him money.

"We knew how bad he was, but we didn't know he was this bad, that he's gotten to this point," he said.

Melissa Mours, who lives next door to the suspect, said, "I'm shocked. I had no idea he was involved in it." She said several people showed up at her neighbor's house this week and knocked on the door, including at least one Meyers family member.

It's still not clear if Nowsch was driving the car involved in the altercation with the family. Mours said she didn't think he had a car or drove.

Earlier, as authorities worked to coax the suspect to surrender, Robert Meyers arrived and was emotionally distraught as he tried get close to the home that police had surrounded.

As he walked past the yellow police tape, he was stopped by a police officer who tried to calm the man down.

“It’s OK,” the officer could be heard telling him.

Click to enlarge photo

Robert Meyers, center, the husband of shooting victim Tammy Meyers, leaves his home to make a statement to reporters Feb. 19, 2015. Police arrested a man suspected of being involved in the road-rage shooting of his wife last week.

“No, it ain’t OK!” the husband shouted back, his voice breaking.

The officer asked the man to step back behind the yellow tape, and he stormed off past reporters.

“Are you all happy? You made my wife look like an animal,” he told reporters. “... There’s the animal, a block away!”

Neighbor Brian Atkinson said he was awakened at about 11:30 a.m. by bullhorns and the sound of a helicopter as police showed up to arrest the suspect.

“They were calling his name and telling him to come out — that they had the house surrounded and they weren’t going to hurt him,” said Atkinson, a 57-year-old former police officer. “They told him they weren’t going to go away.”

As the drama played out, nearby Walter Johnson Junior High School, 7701 Ducharme Ave., was locked down for about 35 minutes, Clark County School District Police Capt. Ken Young said.

Metro Police warned news crews and others to back away from the immediate area for their safety. They evacuated neighbors from their homes while taking the suspect into custody.

Last week, Meyers was headed home with her 15-year-old daughter after a driving lesson in the school parking lot when a man behind them sped up and drove alongside their vehicle, the teen told police.

The daughter said she reached over and honked the horn. The man stopped in front of their vehicle, got out and approached Meyers with angry words, police said.

Meyers continued home and sent her daughter inside the house before she and her adult son, Brandon Meyers, who was armed with a handgun, went looking for the vehicle, police said.

They apparently found the vehicle and followed it before heading home, where the vehicle pulled up and someone inside opened fire, police said.

Brandon Meyers fired back, and Tammy Meyers was hit in the head during the exchange, police said.

Robert Meyers said Friday that his son told him he believed there were three people in the car and his shots with a 9 mm handgun hit the car at least once.

“I would never say that anybody went looking for trouble,” Metro Police Lt. Ray Steiber said when asked to characterize Tammy Meyers’ five-to-10 minute drive through the neighborhood.

A GoFundMe page set up to help pay Tammy Meyers' funeral costs and medical bills was unavailable today. The page had raised more than $6,100.

Some commenters on the website criticized Tammy Meyers for going after the suspect vehicle and doubted the family's story.

Robert Meyers said his wife and son only went looking for the car to move the situation away from their house and that his son has been subjected to threats as the result of the media coverage. He did not specify what kinds of threats.

“This boy is living this over and over and over again,” he said of his son.

Nowsch is expected to appear in court 7:30 a.m. Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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