Tyquez Travon Simmons

Tyquez Travon Simmons. Courtesy/Al Cannon Detention Center.

Charleston police officers arrested a 25-year-old Hanahan man they say shot and killed another man last month in downtown's East Side neighborhood.

Tyquez Travon Simmons of Berkeley Street was taken into custody Monday and charged with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, police said.

He is suspected in the June 18 shooting of 29-year-old Bryan Cozart near Harris and America streets.

When officers converged on that area shortly after 5 a.m. that day, they found Cozart lying in the street between two cars and suffering multiple gunshot wounds, said Charles Francis, a police spokesman. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Arrest affidavits released Tuesday reveal that Cozart and Simmons knew one another and were involved in fight at a Johnson Street apartment before the shooting. 

"Detectives know that Tyquez Simmons was brought to Johnson Street ... for the purpose of collecting money," the affidavits said. "Witnesses ... corroborated that (he) confronted the victim over money owed, which turned into a physical altercation." 

Detectives learned that Cozart was inside the apartment when Simmons started pounding on the rear door and demanded to be let inside, the affidavits said.

Simmons demanded about $20 from the victim during the fight, which was broken up by someone else inside the apartment. Simmons left through the rear door. 

Cozart stayed inside but eventually left out the front door, presumably to get to his workplace, Trojan Labor, by 5:30 a.m., the affidavits said. 

Following the shooting, witnesses identified Simmons from a photographic lineup. 

Statements by witnesses and surveillance footage also were used to place Simmons in the area at the time of the shooting, the affidavits said.  

Cozart's death was the fourth homicide investigated by Charleston police in 2019 and the 29th in the tri-county area, according to a database maintained by The Post and Courier. Five more homicides have been reported across the region since Cozart was killed.

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Reach Michael Majchrowicz at 843-937-5591. Follow him on Twitter @mjmajchrowicz.

Michael Majchrowicz is a reporter covering crime and public safety. He previously wrote about courts for the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Massachusetts. A Hoosier native, he graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.

Gregory Yee covers breaking news and public safety. He's a native Angeleno and previously covered crime and courts for the Press-Telegram in Long Beach, CA. He studied journalism and Spanish literature at the University of California, Irvine.