A man allegedly killed his friend outside of a Floyd Road food mart Feb. 9 after a gun fell into his lap during an armed robbery attempt, according to testimony Tuesday in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
Tommy Toombs Jr., the 19-year-old who was also shot during the incident, pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted armed robbery and aggravated assault. He was ordered held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail.
Judge Julius Hunter bound the case over to Superior Court.
A Columbus police officer said was traveling along Forrest Road around 8 p.m. Feb. 9 when he heard gunshots.
He went to the Lucky Food Mart at 2026 Floyd Road, where he found 20-year-old Nicholas Xavier Morris lying on the ground on the east side of the parking lot. He located Toombs in the street on Kingsberry Drive, which is across from Floyd Road.
They were transported to Piedmont Columbus Regional-Midtown Campus, formerly known as Midtown Medical Center. Morris died at the hospital two days later at 9:26 a.m., according to the Muscogee County Coroner’s Office.
A man told police he was watching television with his fiancée when his friend, Morris, called him asking to hangout. He went to two locations to find Morris, but he couldn’t locate him.
Morris then told him he was at the Lucky Food Mart, so he drove to that location, according to police.
Sgt. Jeff Kraus said surveillance video shows the friend pulling up in his black car and parking in the front of store. Toombs, the homicide victim and a third individual walked from behind the building and approached him, according to police.
“He stated that he thought that was strange,” the detective said. “But he knew them, so he really didn’t think about it.”
Authorities said Toombs greeted the friend and shook his hand before getting in the front passenger seat. Morris was starting to get into the backseat of his friend's car when he noticed the third individual walking away, according to police.
Police said Morris went to the third person and brought him back to the car. He allegedly sat in the backseat behind his friend as that third individual sat in the backseat behind Toombs.
The homicide victim's friend said Toombs started beating him and he heard someone say, “Give it up.” The third individual then got out of the car and stood near the vehicle, according to police.
“You can see in the surveillance video through the front windshield of the vehicle that Tommy Toombs started striking the driver repeatedly on the face and body,” Kraus testified. “You could also see movement in the backseat where Mr. Morris was.”
The homicide victim's friend told police that during the scuffle, he felt something press against his ribs and fall onto his lap. He noticed it was a pistol and used it to shoot Morris and Toombs, according to police.
“He reached and picked it up and fired one round at the subject that was in the passenger seat,” the detective said. “Then he leaned back and fired one round at the subject that was in the backseat behind him.”
Toombs allegedly jumped out of the front seat after the shooting and started running away from the area, according to police.
Surveillance footage allegedly shows the homicide victim and his friend getting out of the vehicle moments later. The detective said the video shows the friend aiming a gun at Morris, but it doesn’t show him firing anymore shots.
The friend then got back into his vehicle and drove away from the area, police said. He allegedly threw the gun outside of his vehicle after the shooting.
Police said the friend later directed them to the location where he dumped the gun.
On March 9, detectives sent out an alert announcing that they were trying to identify the third individual, who they described as a witness. Toombs and his mother went to officials the next day stating they knew his name, according to police.
Toombs, who initially told police he didn’t know the third person, was arrested later that day and charged. Georgia law states that "a person also commits the offense of murder when, in the commission of a felony, he causes the death of another human being irrespective of malice."