November 4, 2008 in City

Suspect arrested in fatal downtown Halloween shooting

No obvious motive for attack, police say
By The Spokesman-Review
 

The 24-year-old convicted felon apparently thought a Halloween night fight in a bar parking lot was a good opportunity to take out his gun and fire it, police say.

“There was no motive in this shooting,” Spokane police Sgt. Joe Peterson said. “The people who were shot were innocent citizens.”

About 40 hours after 22-year-old Joshua Ridgely died from a bullet to his chest, detectives arrested Jonathan Espinoza at his girlfriend’s apartment, 8909 N. Colton St. Espinoza was booked into Spokane County Jail on one count of first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree attempted murder.

Espinoza is a gang member, authorities said, but the shooting was not gang-related.

Joshua Ridgely was shot outside The Blvd, 333 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., where a fight was taking place, police said. Ridgely reportedly tried to stop the fight. Witnesses told police as the fight continued, a man grabbed a gun from his car and fired into the crowd.

In addition to Ridgely, his best friend, Ryan Jackson, was shot in the hand and ankle. A third victim, a woman, was hit in a thigh. Jackson and the woman were treated and released from a hospital.

Because it was Halloween, early morning and downtown, it was “chaos,” Peterson said.

“We knew seven shots were fired and at least three people hit,” he said.

Hundreds of people were downtown, including many in costumes with fake blood. If they approached an officer, “we had to make sure they were all right,” Peterson said.

Espinoza’s criminal record includes a 2004 conviction for first-degree criminal trespass. He was convicted of felony possession of a controlled substance in 2007, according to court records.

“There may be more arrests forthcoming as the investigation continues,” said Spokane Police Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.

The apartment on North Colton Street was searched, Peterson said. The gun has not been found.

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