Lakewood police found a rifle and shell casing in a car with five soldiers and text messages on their phone discussing a plan to shoot up a sports bar, but the men still denied their involvement.
No one was injured in the Oct. 13 incident, which took place in the parking lot of a sports bar on South Tacoma Way.
Pierce County prosecutors have charged Troy Wilson, 20; Derrick Jackson, 22; and Jaton Roberts, 25, with conspiracy to commit drive-by shooting and drive-by shooting. All three pleaded not guilty Wednesday and were ordered jailed in lieu of $50,000.
Two soldiers in the car were not charged.
An officer saw Roberts SUV leave the parking lot and run a red light after the shooting so he stopped the SUV. The soldiers said they had not been involved in the shooting but fled after hearing shots fired.
After the officer allegedly spotted a rifle cover on the front seat, police served a search warrant on the vehicle and found a rifle, loaded magazines and a shell casing in the front seat.
The mens cell phones also had text messages planning to shoot up the sports bar as retaliation for a group jumping one of their friends the night before, according to charging papers.
Roberts told police he didnt know about the text messages on his phone and hadnt read them. He also said one of his texts referred to a trip to the shooting range, and another ordering his friends to bring guns was because he wanted them to be protected in case they were attacked, court records show.
Wilson allegedly admitted they went to the sports bar to meet up with the guys who jumped their friend but said the other group shot at them first so Jackson shot the rifle as they fled.