tv 2020 ABC February 5, 2016 10:01pm-11:00pm PST
>> tonight, "20/20" returns to where it all began, and ended. did you think there was going to be a shootout? >> no, until they started shooting. >> we're putting all the pieces together. an entire family, telling what you've never heard before. the victim, painted as a villain? >> people started to wonder, should i feel bad for her? >> there's the animal. are you happy? >> reporter: the suspect, no stranger. he's their neighbor. and one of his best friends, who cracked the case, talking only to "20/20." >> this tears me up. >> reporter: because after tonight, whatever happened in vegas doesn't stay in vegas. >> if this were a movie, it would almost be too unrealistic. >> we're like, what is the actual story here? >> reporter: a dangerous
>> good evening. i'm david muir. >> and i'm elizabeth vargas. a honk of a horn turned a night into a nightmare. >> for the first time, the people that were right there are now reliving it for "20/20." but as we come up on the one-year anniversary, the question remains. was road rage really the cause? here's debra roberts. >> reporter: it's a cool thursday night in america's favorite adult playground, las vegas. jumping. but across town, near another playground, in a part of vegas where people actually live, a local mom is about to put tonight's mystery in gear. 44-year-old tammy myers is giving her daughter her first
at 10:00 p.m. at night? >> i wanted to go at night, because there's no cars around you could hit. >> reporter: why did you pick that area? >> it's close to home. >> reporter: so, they go to this empty parking lot at a nearby high school. tammy and husband bob have raised four kids in this neighborhood. >> we live in las vegas. it's a 24-hour town. >> reporter: bob is on business in california, a traveling vendor, selling hats and t-shirts at fairs and sporting events. son robert jr. is with him. the others, back in vegas. the eldest, brandon, at home. here's how crystal says it
she takes the wheel, delicately maneuvering the car. then the lesson moves from the parking lot to the neighborhood's main streets. >> we stopped and she pulled over, and we switched seats. >> reporter: tammy takes the wheel. she's going at a snail's pace, when suddenly, an impatient driver appears. >> a silver car, he's riding our bumper. i honk the horn. >> reporter: that honk of the horn, something we've all done, would change everything. you pull up here. >> she turns right. and right about here -- >> reporter: she says that silver car suddenly sideswipes them. who is this guy? >> i didn't recognize them. >> reporter: were you scared? >> yes, i was really scared. he gets out of the car. >> reporter: it's okay.
>> he says i'm going to kill you and your daughter. >> reporter: in a panic, crystal says they flee the scene. but what happens next is a puzzle we piece together tonight. everyone agrees that sometime after 11:00 p.m., two cars go to the end of the cul-de-sac where the myers live. and a sedan, in hot pursuit with a gun. you heard the shots? >> yes. >> reporter: did you know she had been hit? >> yeah, i was screaming, mom's been shot. >> reporter: brandon remembers running to his mother's side as the sedan leaves the scene. >> i was screaming, mom, please stay here. stay here. >> everybody was telling her to stay awake, because she was closing her eyes. >> reporter: she's hit in the
brandon dials 911, and at 11:34, tammy is rushed to the hospital. did you have any idea who had shot your mom? >> no. all i saw was the gunfire. >> reporter: bob gets fragments from a distraught crystal. >> she said, there was blood everywhere, all over mom's head and face. >> reporter: he drops home. how fast are you driving? >> 100 miles an hour. >> reporter: every thought wife. it's not until the early morning hours of february 13th, when bob gets a call from police. >> he says, mr. myers, it started off as a road rage, they followed your wife home and shot
>> reporter: he begins to call tv stations, asking for updates and granting interviews. >> i'm speechless. i've been with this woman 25 years. >> reporter: he's now the vocal spokesperson for the myers family. >> he called our station and says, hey, i'm angry about this. how could someone do this? >> i didn't want to freeze out the media. you can't find killers without the media's help. >> reporter: by daybreak, bob arrives and sees his wife's lifeless body. >> i see my wife. i said, i'm here, baby. and i said, it's going to be okay. you know? >> reporter: but his optimism is quickly dashed. >> the main doctor says, she's not going to make it.
it takes, i'll find out who did this to you. >> reporter: later this morning -- >> i'm right here. you know what you did. come here. >> reporter: he stands before cameras saying there was as many as three killers in the car. by the end of the day's news cycle, here's the official narrative. >> police say three suspects nearly collided with her green buick. >> reporter: as the buick becomes a makeshift memorial, tammy looks to be just another victim in a string of road range incidents. most recently, in austin, texas, two men going at it with a
but a mom, cut down in her own driveway. but despite all the attention, no arrests. the next day, february 14th, a heartbreaking valentine's day. vegas police release the security video of the sedan cruising the neighborhood, and with it a comeposite sketch. they say it's crystal's de description of one of the men. >> as far as we can tell, there was no prior contact, they're complete strangers. >> there's a manhunt, everyone is like, could this happen to me? >> reporter: that night, an
at 7:05 p.m., he disconnects his beloved wife from the respirator. >> she'll never leave my heart, but she's gone. but i didn't want her to go either. it. >> had to. >> reporter: but before tammy can have a funeral, she's about to be buried. >> tammy myers went looking for the driver. >> are you happy? >> reporter: as the story takes the first of what will be many sharp turns. was the innocent victim really all that innocent? >> maybe this isn't what i thought it was in the beginning. >> reporter: and a young woman with inside knowledge, to break the case, she must find the
you called the police. what did you say? >> everything. >> reporter: when "20/20" continues. a thousand people win a thousand dollars every single day for a month. i will not lose. it's refund season. we're non stop, we've gotta have our extra protein. oikos triple zero greek non fat yogurt has 15 grams of protein. zero added sugar, zero artificial sweetener and zero fat. and zero holding me back! oikos triple zero. be unstoppable.
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but now, there's as many whispers about shooting victim tammy myers as facts about her. just hours earlier, police announce a stunning discovery. >> the reason i wanted everyone here was just to clarify some things. >> reporter: a big piece of the myers account has been missing. turns out, between that alleged road rage incident and the shootout, myers returned home, dropped off her daughter, and instead of dialing 911, picked up her son and went back on the road. >> she had her son come out and find who frightened them on the roadway. >> she got her 22-year-old son to get his weapon.
be feeling bad for her? >> when the police held a press conference, saying myers went back out, they started to think, maybe this wasn't what i thought it was. >> reporter: suddenly, the family is feeling the burn. on social media, people began to turn on your wife and son. bob is suddenly doing damage control, insisting this isn't a vigil for a vigilante. >> my son is not an animal. he's a hero in my book. >> reporter: so, what's brendan's story? he says his mom was convinced the road rager was headed to the house to make good on his death
>> i said, let's call 911. >> reporter: why did you grab the gun? >> just safety precautions. >> reporter: brandon takes me on a drive to relive that night with his frightened mom behind the wheel. >> her mouth was open. she was terrified. >> reporter: he poundints out the spot where he says his mom and sister were sideswiped. so nobody is here. so, they decide to go home. but then, just as they make a right turn by the junior high school, he says they spot a silver car. >> it was really right here in front of us. >> reporter: things would escalate, leading to the
brandon and the shooter exchanging more than 20 rounds. but the exact how and who of the incident still puzzles police. that is, until this woman picks up a phone. you called the police? >> i felt i had to. >> reporter: were you conflicted? >> i still am. >> reporter: they interview this woman, caitlin christian. for the first time, she's sharing her story. >> i was sleeping, and my phone was going off the wall. >> reporter: she says it's her good friend erich nowsch. >> he said, i need to come over. something important. >> reporter: how did he sound? >> shaken up. >> reporter: she says he comes over, confessing to a shooting in the neighborhood, saying he
dealer. then he shows you something. >> he pulled out his gun and extra clips for the gun. >> reporter: extra clips. nowsch leaves. then days later, it hits caitlin, he may have been involved in the myers shooting. you heard there was a mom of four that was killed. what goes through you at that moment? >> how could this happen? i didn't finish the article before i got up and called the police. >> reporter: she makes a wrenching decision to turn in her trusting friend. how did you feel? >> terrible, but there's always a right and wrong. >> reporter: the next day, s.w.a.t. teams surround nowsch's home. our affiliate is on the scene.
trying to take the suspect into custody. >> a very confusing scene, everybody is arriving on-scene. >> reporter: one of those arriving, the suspect's mother, in obvious distress. >> please! turn your [ bleep ] phone off. >> reporter: but questions are multiplying. for one thing, erich doesn't drive, and bears little resemblance to crystal myers' description of the shooter. and just as bizarre, the location of his house. just a block away from the myers' house. we go over the map with dan abrams. the irony, the suspect is right around the corner. >> little do they know, it's a
>> you can see his home from my front door. >> reporter: and you walked over to his front door, really angry. >> pajamas and all. >> reporter: you were yelling. >> oh, i was upset. >> reporter: bob myers is devastated. and in that moment, his understandable grief turns to unforgiving anger. >> there's the animal. a block away! are you happy? my wife was the victim. she lost her life. and it was like, they were murdering her all over again, repeatedly, daily. >> reporter: finally, a shirtless nowsch surrenders. >> suspect has been taken into custody. >> reporter: police have questions, but nobody is prepared for the shocking answers.
new version of the story. >> i freaked out. i was like, there's no way. >> reporter: stay with us. here in the city, parking is hard to find. seems like everyone drives. and those who do should switch to geico because you could save hundreds on car insurance. ah, perfect. valet parking. hello! here's the keys. and, uh, go easy on my ride, mate. hm, wouldn't mind some of that beef wellington... to see how much you could save on car insurance, go to geico.com.
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>> got you water. all good? >> mm-hmm. >> good. >> reporter: his father committed suicide when he was 10, and lives with his mother. he may be in need of a fourather figure, and the detective is happy to oblige. after some friendly talk -- >> so, tell me about erich. >> reporter: the cuffs are off. trust building. and very slowly, the detective starts pulling the string. >> what's this about? >> you guys think i did something. >> reporter: nowsch says he's no killer. just a pot aheadhead that likes to light up at the park across the street from the school where myers was giving the driving
but he says on the night of the murder, he was hanging out at this guy's house. a local rapper named young crane. then, talk of weapons. >> have you ever been in possession of any handguns, real guns? >> yeah. but i got rid of it. >> when? >> probably a month ago. >> describe it. >> reporter: much-needed protection, nowsch says, because rival drug dealers have been threatening him and his family. an hour later, detectives finally reveal their hand, letting him know they've already blown up his alibi, because caitlin has already told them.
were talking about, way before you ever told me. >> this is crazy, dude. >> it is. everybody is trying to see you do the right thing. but everybody realizes, you made a bad mistake that night. okay? and the fact that you sought out katie to talk to that night, that lets me know this was really bothering you. >> reporter: he can no longer handle the weight. >> come here. tell me what happened, okay? get this off your mind. >> i didn't mean to hit no mom and bros. >> so, tell me what happened. tell me from the beginning, erich. >> reporter: now, get ready for nowsch's story, beginning just after 10:00 p.m. that night, he's in the park, armed and paranoid when he
slowly in the parking lot. >> she was just following, there. >> reporter: he says he was sure someone was stalking him. so, he calls a friend so he can get away. >> until i knew this car was out of sight. >> reporter: the friend arrives in a silver audi sedan. nowsch thinks he's escaped his again. he tells police something that surprises them, someone in the other car was brandishing a gun at him. >> so far, you're telling us that they were waving a gun. listen to me. nobody but you has said that. >> reporter: and reveals something else that thus far has gone unreported.
even before the fatal shooting. >> i started shooting them. >> reporter: he says the cars separate, and he starts heading home. but as he turns on his street, suddenly, they're face-to-face. and nowsch follows that car into the cul-de-sac. >> i thought they were the guys that had been threatening me. >> what did you see when you pulled? >> i run up to the door. all i keep thinking, they're going to grab more straps. i got scared. >> reporter: after unloading his gun, nowsch flees the scene, thinking he protected his family. only days later, he realizes he may have just destroyed one. what was his reaction when he realized? >> nauseating remorse. how did he go from punk kids
>> reporter: he saves his biggest surprise for last. saying he knows myers, has eaten dinner at her table. >> so you know the family? >> i know the whole family, man. >> anything you want to tell the family? >> i thought they were going to harm my family out. not a family's mom. not tammy. >> reporter: the stunning relationship is confirmed for the first time when bob later addresses the press. >> we knew how bad he was, but we didn't know this bad. >> reporter: claiming his wife had mentored that troubled youth. >> she was really good to him. she fed him, gave him money. told him to pull his pants up. >> reporter: some saw it as odd that you didn't disclose that you knew him and then later on, you did.
i didn't know his last name. i just knew him as erich. >> reporter: detectives leave him alone in a room, to call his mother and say he won't be coming home. >> mom, i love you. i've already told them everything. the reason i confessed, they knew everything. >> reporter: but the case is far from closed. nowsch won't give up the driver of the silver sedan. and claims no knowledge of a prior road rage incident. and was there a darker side to the relationship between theammy and her killer? >> she used to come to the park and try to purchase things off of him.
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"20/20" continues with a dangerous intersection. >> reporter: ten days after the shooting of tammy myers, a wide-eyed erich nowsch is ushered into a courtroom for the first time. an image that brings his friend caitlin to tears. what do you see in this shot? >> just terrified. >> reporter: he looks the picture of a confused kid here, don't you think? >> yeah. >> reporter: in court, nowsch is with his new defense team. they're known around town for their assertive advertising. and now, for an assertive defense. >> we're conducting our own information.
fruit. >> reporter: they want the confession tape to be tossed out. saying he had smoked pot, and was impaired while making the statements. >> he was high, and the police knew it. that compromises the result. >> reporter: and they claim the killing of myers was justified. >> the facts seem to point to self defense in this situation. >> reporter: do you think erich should go to prison as a murder? >> no. >> reporter: because she says for months, erich was facing a barrage of threats from what he thinks were rival drug dealers. >> coming through phone calls, text messages, saying they were
well. messages? >> absolutely. >> reporter: and he thought they had come for him the night of february 12th. >> in his mind, this was them coming at me, this is me protecting myself. >> reporter: and she believes nowsch's claim that he saw someone pointing a gun at him, and he began shooting. there's no doubt in your mind, that he saw someone wave a gun at him. >> no doubt, he felt threatened, it was him or them. >> reporter: but brandon says he didn't wave his gun. and local reporter jackie heinrich says she has trouble
what was the true relationship between tammy and nowsch? >> she would come to the park and try to purchase things off of him. >> reporter: heinrich points out that they found a painkiller in myers' purse. nowsch never mentioned anything of the sort in his interrogation. but the accusations lead to headlines that the shootout was about dirty drug dealing. >> the one thing we can positively say about this, it was not about road rage. >> reporter: and thebob says it was the defense trying to muddy the
did anybody in your family ever buy drugs from him? >> definitely not. >> reporter: some question the fact that your wife had painkillers in her purse. >> she had a prescription for it for three years. >> how do you plead? >> not guilty. >> reporter: on march 12th, nowsch pleads not guilty. nowsch won't say who was driving the car, but cell phone records lead to his buddy, derrick andrews. now they're in a courtroom with matching jump suits. >> this was an act of unprovoked
and mr. andrews being the driver. >> reporter: could he be that mysterious man in the sketch? the first alleged road rage incident that started it all? the prosecution thinks they figured it all out. but truth is stranger than fiction. >> turns out, everybody is wrong. >> reporter: don't go away. but don't worry, you'll always be comfortable. v/o : the first hug they ever feel is from you. make sure the second hug feels just as good. huggies gentle absorb liner draws more runny mess away than pampers swaddlers.
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>> there's nothing to support that mrs. myers was doing anything other than giving her daughter some driving lessons. >> reporter: but what happened next is a series of bizarre, tragic coincidences. 10:10 p.m., tammy is offering that driving lesson to her daughter in the parking lot. by coincidence, nowsch is in a park across the street. he's carrying
a handgun, and the weight of the world on his shoulders, after death threats from rivals. he apparently misconstrues the movement of the car as a threat. >> just out for some driving lessons.
the lesson, myers gets back behind the wheel and drives home.
10:56 p.m., a silver sedan passes them. her daughter slams on the horn. it's full-on road rage, as the silver car stops. the driver walks out, and says, i'm going to kill you and come back for your daughter. back at the park, nowsch is picked up by friend, derrick andrews. coincidentally, driving a different sedan. meantime, myers drops off her daughter and picks up her son
he happens to be a registered handgun owner. >> it's a mistake, but it is what it is. >> reporter: the search begins. mom and son take off looking for the road rager. then they locate him, so they think. >> it was right here in front of us. >> reporter: what does she see? >> those are the ones that threatened to kill me and your sister. >> reporter: a fatal instant of mistaken identity. >> she thinks she's found the car here. and it's at that same moment that nowsch thinks he's being followed by this green car. so now, you have both of them mistakenly pair
>> reporter: then the same exact green buick is spotted, nowsch surmises he's the one about to be attacked. moments later, shots fired. the first, but not the last time bullets would fly that night. >> at that point, the evidence shows that mr. nowsch raised his weapon in a threatening manner. >> i said, mom, we're getting shot at. at that point, she's shaking. >> reporter: he says he didn't hit anybody. >> this should have been the end of it. nowsch has now gotten to threaten the drug dealers he thinks are behind him. they've learned their lesson. >> reporter: both cars speed off. each heading home, taking parallel streets. but remember, they only live a block apart.
they wind up on the same street. cul-de-sac. andrews follows them in. >> that's when they got out of the car. >> the minute he follows them into the cul-de-sac, he's now become a threat. >> reporter: what did you think was about to happen? did you think there was going to be a shootout? shooting. everything was slow motion. it was weird. >> reporter: nowsch empties his .45 and reloads. >> the evidence shows mr. nowsch, for stupid reasons, chose to drive in a neighborhood he was familiar with, saw two people and opened fire. >> reporter: the sedan backs away, and brandon sees his mother on the ground.
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they're moving. >> i catch myself all the time calling her. i sit in my chair, go, hey, babe? nothing comes back. >> reporter: the quiet cul-de-sac, once a safe and secure street for the boys' football fun, will now be remembered for the woman they couldn't protect. the family has had a book written. bob will wait until after that to lay his wife's ashes to rest. >> everything that was said about my wife, when i put her in the ground, i want all the truth out. and i think the only way that
>> she was a nice lady trying to help a troubled kid. that's what the evidence will show, and nothing more. >> reporter: just this week, another incident in las vegas between the driver of this truck and a motorcyclist. but brandon didn't need this to give peace a chance. in the wake of his mother's death, he surrendered his pistol. >> the cops have it. i told them, i don't want it back. they can keep it. >> reporter: for crystal, the youngest myers child, life has been difficult. the loss, the scorn, the guilt. you saw everything. >> yeah. i ask myself, what if we didn't go? what if i didn't want to go, if i had never honked the horn, it probably would have been different. >> reporter: crystal is coping
you say you've written a song? >> yeah, i did. >> reporter: do you mind singing a little bit? the angel fly and let the song go and oh she'll be all right, all these people judging us everywhere we go the pain will never leave >> a loving tribute. so many questions still remaining. what was the real relationship between erich and tammy? >> the questions will likely be answered later thismurder of their mom. plus sot: "we need help but we don't know what to do." valley homeowners on the brink of
contact 13 with how you can avoid this from happening to you. developing now a fight erupts between a father and son... and turns deadly. and we begin with an update to that breaking news we brought you earlier tonight... a teenager is dead after a fight with an adult relative turned violent. 13 action news reporter.... david schuman has been following this story since it broke this afternoon.... and joins us live.... near cimarron and mountain's edge parkway.... with what's next for the suspected killer. david. this shockingly violent domestic incident still has this street closed down by police tape as officers investigate. two relatives - one dead, one in the hospital with stab wounds. it all has police grasping for any kind of answers. 23:55:37 mcgrath "to get to that level where result in violence and stabbing and shooting somebody obviously is a great concern for us as an agency and obviously the family is extremely upset right now." run 13