A Sunday night drive-by shooting in west Casper was the culmination of a month-long feud that started on Facebook and ended with several rounds fired into an empty home, according to a police report documenting the incident.
Police have arrested four juveniles and one adult in connection with the shooting, in which the home and two nearby parked cars were peppered with gunfire in an apparent drive-by.
On Tuesday, the adult alleged to be involved, Mathew Nieter, and two juveniles appeared in court and were read the charges against them, including possession of deadly weapon, property destruction and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault. A third juvenile was prepared to appear, but the judge declined to move the case forward because the defendant, a 16-year-old high schooler, did not have a parent or guardian present.
The fourth teen did not appear in circuit court Tuesday, which a clerk in the courtroom told the teen’s mother was because of a last-minute change.
After the shooting, according to the affidavit filed by Casper Police, a detective interviewed a man, Ashton McAulay, who lived in the home. McAulay said he was an amateur boxer who worked out at the local YMCA and regularly posted about the sport on Facebook. One such post drew the attention of one of the juveniles charged in the case, who posted derogatory comments about McAulay’s boxing ability. The two exchanged jabs on the social media site for a month, police say.
According to the affidavit, McAulay eventually set up a fight between him and the juvenile, who is identified by his initials in the document, which match those of one of the teens who appeared in court Tuesday. The juvenile didn’t show, according to police, but continued to “taunt” the amateur boxer. The feud continued until they finally met up near the juvenile’s home Sunday.
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McAulay told police he “took (the juvenile) down” and then “handled” the teen’s friends when they joined in. The three friends who jumped in would all later be involved in the shooting, police say. The two sides split up, and McAulay drove to his parent’s house. But the juvenile who started the feud continued to message him, according to police, and McAulay gave him his address so they could meet and fight again.
That night, McAulay was at dinner with his family, still sending and receiving “threatening” texts to and from the juvenile, the report states. After dinner, McAulay and his parents were told by neighbors that the boxer’s house had been “shot up,” according to the police report.
Police identified two teens involved — neither of them the teen who had been exchanging the messages with McAulay — and brought them to the police station. While their stories varied somewhat, the two juveniles — judging by their initials, one appeared in court and the other didn’t after a last-minute change — told police that they got into a car with Nietert, who produced three handguns. The group — Nietert, the teen who had fought McAulay, and three juvenile friends — all allegedly drove to McAulay’s house and opened fire on it.
The accounts differ as to who fired on the home. Both teens said McAulay, the lone adult involved, was friends with another teen in the car, who — based on his initials — was charged in court Tuesday.
That juvenile, a 17-year-old high school student, was charged with possession of a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit property destruction, like Nietert. But he was also charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to deliver. According to the police report, the juvenile had 9.5 grams of cocaine that Nietert allegedly asked him to sell. Nietert denied that accusation to police.
The account of who fired the weapons differed from each person, according to the report.
Nietert and the teen who faced drug charges are both being held on a $100,000 bond, while the third teen who appeared in court Tuesday is being held on a $50,000 bond.