Everyone thought the fight was over.
A few swear words and a couple of shoves had been exchanged — the argument started after a man inappropriately touched a woman — but it seemed that things were settling down.
Avery Tyler calmly walked to a car, retrieved a handgun and then shot Delayno B. Wright in a parking lot near 175th Street and West Center Road, Omaha police detectives alleged Tuesday.
A friend of Tyler's told police that he saw the former Bellevue University basketball star “standing and pointing the gun, shooting in the direction” of Wright, said Detective Dave Schneider. “He heard multiple shots.”
A Douglas County judge ruled that there was enough evidence to try Tyler, 24, who is accused of first-degree murder. Former coaches have expressed shock at the arrest of Tyler, who had been a role model for youths.
Tyler sat expressionless during the court testimony.
According to police, the Sept. 3 confrontation began as Tyler and his friend were on their way into the Halo Ultra Lounge. Wright, his girlfriend and a man were on their way out.
As the groups passed each other, Tyler's friend apparently touched or groped Wright's girlfriend, who was wearing body paint to look like a zebra as part of a special event inside the bar.
Detectives said the woman shouted obscenities at Tyler and his friend. It escalated from there.
A few minutes later, a witness told police, Tyler walked to his girlfriend's car and grabbed a semiautomatic pistol that he bought in June. He walked back toward Wright and his friends, and fired in their direction, Detective Christopher Spencer said.
As Wright fell to the ground, Tyler and his friend left. They went to another bar to have a beer before last call, detectives said. Wright, 24, died later at the Nebraska Medical Center.
Detective Chris Gordon testified that a friend of Wright's recognized Tyler as a former high school basketball star at Omaha Central and Omaha Bryan. He identified “Avery” as the shooter, recalling only his first name.
Gordon tracked down a couple of old high school basketball rosters and showed them to the witness. The man identified Tyler in the photos.
Tyler was interviewed by police a few weeks after the shooting.
According to the detectives' testimony, Tyler said he had been at the wedding of a former Bellevue teammate, didn't go to Halo and was driving his Monte Carlo, not his girlfriend's Jeep Commander.
Tyler told police that after the wedding, which was at the Magnolia Hotel downtown, he drove around the Old Market and met up with his uncle at 120th and L Streets to pick up some movies.
Police agree that Tyler was at the wedding — they saw photographs of him there — but they have a different account of what he did next.
Driving his girlfriend's Jeep, Tyler and his friend headed toward Halo after the reception ended around midnight. Detectives said a search of Tyler's cellphone revealed deleted text messages sent to a woman, asking her where Halo was.
The men got to a parking lot near the bar, and that's when the night turned violent.
Tyler's girlfriend, Romesha L. Fountain, 28, has been charged as an accessory to a felony. She is accused of lying to police, telling them that Tyler hadn't driven her car the night of the shooting. The vehicle was recorded on a security camera outside a nearby Panda Express restaurant.
Schneider said the day after the shooting, Tyler and his friend bumped into each other.
Tyler told the friend, “If anybody asks, tell them we were at the wedding reception until after midnight,” the detective testified. “We were never at Halo ... and they can't know I used my girl's car.”
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