Man threatened to shoot a 4-year-old before killing the child’s father, Utah police say

(Courtesy the Salt Lake County jail) Shaun Eugene Fleming

Two men who forced their way into a Taylorsville apartment to intimidate a man who lived there wreaked havoc on the victim’s roommates and 4-year-old child before killing him, court documents say.

The documents, filed Thursday in 3rd District Court, reveal more about what happened Dec. 10 in the moments before 30-year-old Toussaint “TJ” L’Overture Tyler Jr. was killed.

The altercation started about 10 a.m., when 49-year-old Tonita Vianay Rico, who is also known as having the last name Espinoza, knocked on Tyler’s apartment door. Tyler’s girlfriend answered, and two men pushed their way inside, according to court documents.

(Photo courtesy of Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office) Tonita Vianay Rico, AKA Tonita Vianay Espinoza

Once inside, the alleged gunman — identified as 36-year-old Shaun Eugene Fleming — put Tyler’s girlfriend in a chokehold and pointed a gun at her head. He wanted to know if anyone else was in the apartment. He allegedly threatened to shoot Tyler’s 4-year-old, who was in the room, if she lied to him.

The two men found Tyler’s roommates — a man and woman — in the bathroom. The men reportedly threw the roommates on the floor and bound them with duct tape before moving into the master bedroom, where Tyler was taking a shower, according to court documents.

The men reportedly forced Tyler’s girlfriend and child into the bedroom, and grabbed Tyler from the shower.

They attempted to make Tyler open a safe in the room. As they threatened Tyler, one of the men was holding the 4-year-old.

Moments later, Tyler was shot multiple times. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Officers later found a “large amount” of money on top of the safe and a “large quantity” of marijuana inside.

After the shooting, the men fled the apartment to a car outside, where Rico was waiting.

Officers arrested Rico on Dec. 12 after an anonymous tipster reported her to police.

While previously filed court documents indicate that Rico had hired the two men to intimidate Tyler because he owed her money, Rico told police after her arrest that Tyler actually owed money to Fleming, and that he’d told her to knock on the door.

Rico led police to Fleming — whom she knew as Kane — after she identified him in a photo array. He also called Rico during her police interview.

Fleming has not been arrested. Prosecutors filed nine felony charges against him Thursday, including first-degree-felony counts of aggravated murder, aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery, and three counts of first-degree aggravated kidnapping.

Rico was charged with a first-degree-felony count each of murder, aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery in connection with Tyler’s death.