Police searching for man charged with killing a father in front of his child
Taylorsville, Utah (KSL) — Two people have now been charged with murdering a Taylorsville man in front of a 4-year-old child and police are still looking for the suspected gunman.
Toussaint “TJ” L’Ouverture Tyler Jr., 30, was fatally shot about 10 a.m. on Dec. 10 in an apartment complex at 742 W. Sunny River Road.
Prosecutors say Tonita Vianay Rico, 49, knocked on Tyler’s door while two men hid. When Tyler’s girlfriend opened it, the men forced their way inside while one man — Shaun Eugene Fleming — put her in a chokehold and pointed a gun at her head, charging documents state. Police say the men then bound her and another couple with duct tape and threatened to shoot Tyler’s 4-year-old daughter if the woman lied about who else was in the apartment.
The men — Fleming, 36, and another unidentified man — then entered the master bedroom and forced Tyler from the shower, the charges say.
“While they were holding the 4-year-old, the men told Mr. Tyler to open the safe. A struggle ensued and Mr. Tyler was shot,” according to the charges.
A roommate told police Tyler was shot when he held his hands up in defense. An autopsy determined that Tyler was shot at close range to the chest and the back of his head, the court documents say.
Officers found “large” amounts of cash and marijuana and two shell casings in the home, the charges state.
Rico was arrested after her photograph was published in the press and police received a tip. A police report about her arrest and the tipster indicated that she said Tyler owed her money, “so she sent two guys to intimidate him into paying her the money,” but “it went horribly wrong and not as planned.”
But in the charging documents, she told police that Fleming told her to knock on the door of the apartment because people inside owed him money.
After the trio fled the scene and Fleming got into a car, she said she asked him if they had killed anyone. “She stated she was told to be quiet,” police wrote in the charges.
Fleming, of Salt Lake City, was charged Thursday with aggravated murder, three counts of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and child kidnapping, all first-degree felonies. He was also charged with obstructing justice and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, second-degree felonies.
A warrant was issued for his arrest. Police say Fleming, who has distinct tattoos on his neck, should be considered armed and dangerous.
Rico, of Ogden, is charged with murder, aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery, all first-degree felonies. Rico is also known as Tonita Vianay Espinoza.
Tyler played college basketball for Central Washington University.