Months of disputes and tattling among north Spokane neighbors reached a deadly climax early Tuesday when a man shot the 19-year-old woman who lived next door.
Meagan Winebrenner died in her killer’s front yard at 1327 E. Bridgeport shortly before 2 a.m. Two male friends, ages 19 and 21, also were shot but not seriously injured.
Adrian “Al” Price was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder.
Price, 48, told police he was trying to get some sleep Christmas night but couldn’t because Winebrenner was throwing a loud party - something he said she had done often. About a dozen people were at her house at 1323 E. Bridgeport, where she lived with her boyfriend.
When Price yelled at the people next door to turn the stereo down, a shouting match broke out, police said.
“It escalated from there,” detective Greg Harshman said, with Winebrenner and the two men leaping over Price’s 3-foot-high fence while Price grabbed his shotgun. The victims were unarmed.
Price told police he felt threatened by the advancing trio and intended to scare them away by firing over their heads. But as he raised the shotgun, it went off, he said.
Winebrenner, who most recently had worked at a South Hill drug store, was hit in the chest and collapsed in Price’s front yard, just a few feet from where he was standing. Her 19-year-old friend was shot in the buttocks and the 21-year-old suffered pellet wounds in his side.
Their names were not released.
Detectives are trying to figure out exactly what happened, but so far, they do not believe Price acted in self-defense.
Several party guests said the victims saw Price’s gun and were trying to turn away when it went off.
Even if they weren’t trying to get away, Price still could be charged with murder, prosecutors said. He admitted he was trying to scare the victims with his gun, which is a form of assault.
To claim the shooting was self-defense, Price must prove he felt his life was in danger or that he thought the victims were going to commit a crime against him.
One guest at the party said the music was turned down low and accused Price of “having it in for us.”
“He was always picking fights,” said one of Winebrenner’s friends, who didn’t want his name used. “We were just having this nice Christmas party and he comes screaming out here at us.”
Neighbors, however, said Price has had problems with Winebrenner and her boyfriend, James Hutchins, ever since they moved in last summer. Price complained all the time about the noise, the music and the number of people who visited Winebrenner’s house, neighbors said.
“He reports them and then they report him,” said Clarence Best, who lives behind Price on Courtland. “He said they’re always going back and forth and he can’t get any sleep for all of the racket.”
Price is a truck driver who works long shifts and values his rest at home, neighbors said. He has no criminal record.
But neighbors doubt Price intended to hurt anyone. Given the history of disputes, he probably got scared when the three people charged over his fence, neighbors said.
Price was being held without bail late Tuesday in the Spokane County Jail. He refused to comment on the shooting.
His mother, Ruth Price, 75, lives with him in the house on East Bridgeport and also declined to be interviewed.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: Another killing in Spokane