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Recovered gun linked to shooting at nightclub

Sat., Nov. 15, 2008

A gun police say was used in a deadly Spokane shooting that killed one and injured two others was found south of Chewelah.

The weapon had been disassembled and thrown off a steep hillside, Spokane police Sgt. Joe Peterson said.

Detectives say it is the gun fired by Jonathan Espinoza and Matthew Jones outside the nightclub The Blvd on Nov. 1. One of the bullets killed 22-year-old Joshua Ridgely. Other rounds fired from the gun struck and injured Ridgely’s friend Ryan Jackson and Michelle Wilcox.

Jones told police he fired the gun into the air that night to break up a fight. Espinoza then grabbed the weapon and fired it into the crowd at 333 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

After police arrested the two men, they searched cars and homes associated with them but no weapon was found. This week, police followed a tip on the gun’s location that led them north of Spokane.

Police searched the forested hillside for hours. With the help of Spokane County sheriff’s Deputy J.P. Melton and his explosives-sniffing dog, Pepper, parts of the disassembled gun were found in two locations.

“Without them, we would not have found it,” Peterson said.

Espinoza denies involvement in the shooting.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Rachel Sterett would not speak specifically about the shooting.

Espinoza and Jones are in Spokane County Jail, each booked on one count of first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree attempted murder. They are being held on $1 million bond.

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