A game with a gun appears to have led to the death of a 20-year-old Council Bluffs man, according to the Douglas County attorney.
Eighteen-year-old Montana Garbez has been charged with manslaughter and use of a firearm to commit a felony in the Sunday shooting of 20-year-old Scott Evans.
Serenity Gaytan, 19, of the Omaha-Council Bluffs area has been charged with being an accessory to a felony. Prosecutors said she lied to homicide detectives, saying she wasn't in the room when the shooting occurred. Other witnesses, however, said she was present.
Garbez and Gaytan appeared in court Wednesday. Garbez was ordered held on $250,000 bail, meaning he would have to post $25,000 to be released. Gaytan's bail was set at $15,000, meaning she would have to post $1,500.
Evans was found dead about 6 a.m. Sunday after police were called to a home at 27th Street and Camden Avenue in Omaha.
“It appears there was a party, and these two men were involved in some sort of gun play, using a gun in a kind of game similar to Russian roulette,” said Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine. “In the course of that, unfortunately the young man was shot in the head and died. It appears to be unintentional.”
In court Wednesday, prosecutors said Garbez pointed a gun at Evans' head and fired a shot.
Evans’ mother, Carol Cornell of Council Bluffs, said her son went to Omaha after receiving a call from Gaytan, who turned 19 on Sunday. His mother has only “heard pieces” about what happened.
“I want to know what silly, stupid thing drove them to do whatever they did over there,” Cornell said Tuesday. “My son didn’t have weapons. He was a good kid who loved people.”
Fracisca Gaytan, Serenity’s mother, said by telephone that she wouldn’t comment on the incident “while it’s under investigation.” She also said the investigation will exonerate her daughter of any wrongdoing. Attempts to reach members of Garbez’s family were unsuccessful.
Evans graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 2015 and was preparing to take welding classes at Iowa Western Community College, his mother said. He also was overcoming some physical and mental issues, she said.
“We found out Scott had spina bifida when he was 15,” she said. “He was this big guy, but he had the back of a 90-year-old man.”
The back problems were improving after “many, many surgeries,” Cornell said. Evans, who had been depressed by his condition, was starting to feel good about himself again, his mother said.
“When he figured out that welding was something he would be able to do, he was very excited,” Cornell said. “Things were turning around for him. He just went out and got glasses on his own — I couldn’t keep them on him when he was young — because he was having trouble reading and he wanted to be ready for school.”
The glasses gave Evans “a Drew Carey look,” his mom said, referring to the comedian and game show host. That was appropriate, she said, because the young man enjoyed making people laugh.
“He was a big-hearted guy who loved joking around,” she said. “He also loved mushroom hunting and fishing. He just told me the other day, ‘Mom, I can smell those mushrooms coming up.’ ”
Cornell said her son longed for a girlfriend. She thinks he probably jumped at the chance to go to a party with some girls Saturday night.
“That was something that he talked about,” she said through tears. “He really, really wanted a girlfriend. He wanted to find love.”
In addition to his mother, Evans is survived by his father, Roger Evans Sr. of Council Bluffs; sister Samantha Evans of Council Bluffs; and stepbrother Roger Evans Jr. of Omaha.
Donations to help with Evans’ funeral expenses are being accepted at www.gofundme.com/funeral-expenses-scottevans.
World-Herald staff writer Mara Klecker contributed to this report.