116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man charged with second-degree murder in a fatal shooting at a downtown nightclub was barred from carrying weapons after drunkenly shooting a sawed-off shotgun in 2012 — but continued to do so anyway, court records show.
Timothy Ladell Rush, 32, is accused of fatally shooting Nicole Owens, 35, the mother of his child. Another person, Michael Valentine, 25, was also killed in the shooting, which took place early Sunday in the downtown Taboo Nightclub and Lounge. Police have not said who they think killed Valentine and have said they believe a second gunman was involved. But they have not announced any new arrests in the case.
Ten others were injured in the attack, including a man in critical condition Rush is charged with shooting in the head.
Rush has been charged with one count of second-degree murder, willful injury, intimidation with a dangerous weapon, reckless use of a firearm and possession of a firearm as a felon.
Rush’s criminal history
The charge of possession of a firearm as a felon refers to a previous felony conviction in 2012, when Rush was arrested after Cedar Rapids police responded to a shots-fired call in the 1500 block of First Street E and found Rush carrying a sawed-off 20 gauge shotgun, according to an arrest report.
In the 2012 case, Rush, who was intoxicated, lead officers on a foot chase before being caught. He originally was charged with possession of an offensive weapon, interference with official acts and public intoxication. But he later pleaded guilty to only possession of an offensive weapon. He was sentenced to three years of probation, court records show.
Rush was arrested again in 2014, charged in federal court in Iowa with being a felon in possession of a firearm and being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm. Police, responding to a call about a man with a gun, encountered Rush in the 600 block of 15th Street SE.
“'Rush claimed he had been in contact with law enforcement officers in the past and was attempting to work with them to get shooters off the street,” a criminal complaint at the time shows.
Rush was sentenced to five years in federal prison for that case, followed by three years of supervised release. He was released in 2018, but returned to prison multiple times for violations of his supervised release.
Most recently, he was sentenced on Nov. 12, 2020, to 10 months in prison for failure to participate in substance abuse testing, failure to report as instructed, failure to maintain employment, using a controlled substance and failure to answer inquiries truthfully.
No term of supervised release was reimposed after his most recent prison sentence, court records show. He was released on Sept. 10, 2021.
Despite the prison time, Rush was captured on video surveillance at Taboo carrying a gun the morning of the shooting at the club, a criminal complaint shows. The video captured the shooting also.
“There were 9 mm shell casings that were collected from the area where the defendant discharged the firearm into the assembly of people,” a complaint shows. “A search of his residence revealed the presence of a Hi-Point 9 mm firearm and preliminary test firing and comparison to shell casings found on the scene indicated that firearm was used in these killings.”
In an affidavit, Rush wrote he had once worked at the nightclub. The club’s owner, Mod Williams, has declined to comment.
Rush’s attorney, Tyler Johnston, did not return a phone call requesting comment.
Honoring the victims
Rush is charged with shooting and injuring Marvin Cox of Cedar Rapids during the attack. Marie Mulkey, Cox’s mother, has been spending every day with him in the hospital, she told The Gazette.
“It’s very hard for us. He’s sitting in that hospital fighting for his life,” Mulkey said.
The city of Cedar Rapids held a vigil Wednesday night in honor of the victims. Faith leaders spoke about the effects of violence in the community and offered prayers of healing and comfort. There were about 150 attendees, including family members Owens.
Owens’ sister, Denise Allison, told The Gazette in an earlier interview that the family is struggling to process Owens’ death.
“She always took care of us. She was always loving and sweet to everybody. She made a lot of friends. Everybody just loved her,” Allison said.
La’Tazia Mac, a friend of both Owens and Valentine who had invited them to her birthday party that night, said they were both hard workers who didn’t deserve to have their lives cut short.
“(Valentine) worked three jobs and had the brightest future ahead of him,” Mac said.
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