SAN BERNARDINO – The shooting death of a teenager early July 13 led to the arrest of the main suspect while two others also face charges in a shooting that included the attempted murder of another teen.
Tomanisha Marie Nichols was shot to death at a party in the 4000 block of North E St. just after midnight on July 13. Darin Andrew Couzens, 25, was apprehended about eight hours later while trying to get treatment for his own injuries at an area hospital.
Though he was arraigned in San Bernardino Superior Court on July 15, where he pleaded not guilty, Couzens was scheduled to appear again in court this week.
Two others, Robert Lee Williams, 23, and Anthony Prieto, 25, were also charged with felony murder in the shooting. Sheriff’s detectives determined that Williams and Prieto were involved in the course of their investigation.
Another victim, Traveon Southern, was also shot outside the house on North E St., but survived the attack.
Witnesses told detectives there had been an altercation that might have led to the shooting. Some reports said Nichols was on her cell phone when she was struck down by a bullet.
According to the charges, Couzens used a handgun, that has been recovered, to shoot Nichols and Southern. Investigators have determined Couzens had been the sole shooter while the other participated.
The charges also include charges that the crime was committed in “association with a criminal street gang with the specific intent to promote, further and assist in criminal conduct by gang members.”
Though law enforcement reports offered no motive, the charges connect the shooting to gang-related elements.
Court records show that Couzens was sentenced to 36 months probation in Sept. 2010 after pleading a guilty to being possession of a modified weapon. Earlier that year, he was convicted of violating probation after convicted of battery charges.
In 2008, Prieto, then 19, was convicted of armed robbery.
Couzens, who is being held at $1 million bail, was booked into West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.