Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Woman arrested after fatal shooting in east Spokane

Spokane police use a dog to search for the suspect in a fatal shooting in the Chief Garry Park neighborhood on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. The suspect, 25-year-old Ashley Horning, was arrested about two hours after the shooting near the Safeway grocery store at Hamilton Street and Mission Avenue. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
By Chad Sokol and Jonathan Glover The Spokesman-Review

A 25-year-old woman is accused of shooting and killing a person Thursday morning in an east Spokane home before going to a nearby shopping area, where she was later arrested.

Ashley Horning was later booked into the Spokane County Jail on a second-degree murder charge. Police said she had entered a home at Crestline Street and Cataldo Avenue in the Chief Garry Park Neighborhood at about 9:30 a.m.

“She had recently been served with an order of protection prohibiting her from this residence,” said Officer John O’Brien, a police spokesman. “She showed up today, and is alleged to have shot a person inside, just one victim, and then she fled.”

Details of the shooting were unavailable Thursday, and authorities would not identify the victim, saying only that the person was an adult. The medical examiner’s office said shortly after 3 p.m. that none of its investigators had been called to the scene and so the office had no information.

After police responded to the home and identified Horning as the suspect, they deployed a dog and a SWAT team to search for her. Police also shared her name, photo and description on social media and urged anyone who saw her to call 911, saying she was believed to be armed and dangerous.

At the shooting scene, a man could be seen outside the house, holding a toddler and talking loudly with police. He said he had been inside at the time of the shooting.

About two hours after the shooting, Horning was arrested in a parking lot near the Safeway at Hamilton Street and Mission Avenue, about a mile from the victim’s house.

“We received a call that she was there and she was waiting in the parking lot, and she was taken into custody without incident,” O’Brien said. “There was a person with her, and I don’t know what that relationship is.”

Detectives remained at the shooting scene Thursday afternoon, and O’Brien said they had requested a search warrant to enter the home. Surrounding streets remained cordoned off. O’Brien declined to release more information, citing the ongoing investigation.

Shortly after she was booked, Horning gave an interview to KHQ-TV in a jail visiting booth. She wore a lime green jail shirt and had a distinctive jewel piercing in the middle of her forehead. She claimed she couldn’t remember what had happened.

“I’ve been staying with a friend,” she said. “He woke up late for work, and I woke up kind of in a panicky, panicky mode. And he left his gun. And I guess I – I thought I went back to sleep. Instead, I didn’t.”

“And I regret it,” she said. “I don’t remember it. And I’m so sorry to everyone that I’ve disappointed, especially my daughters.”

A search of Horning’s social media posts and court records revealed she had been fighting unsuccessfully for custody of her young children, who have two different fathers. At one point, she said, she lived with both men in the same home.

On Facebook, Horning shared videos of a fight and accused one father of assaulting her mother. In a post that was later attached to a court filing, she said she had spent three days in jail for kneeing the man in the groin during that fight.

In a December court filing, that man argued for full-time custody of a 3-year-old daughter, saying Horning had been negligent, abusive and mentally unstable. He wrote that Horning had tried to “cast dark magic” on him and had assaulted both of the fathers.

In a Facebook post Thursday, her mother, Michelle Horning, wrote that she had awakened to a call about the shooting. She offered no details about what had happened and did not respond to a message seeking further comment.

She did, however, blame the shooting on police, courthouse and jail staff, Child Protective Services, “greedy, heartless lawyers” and “all of the closeted abusers who have thus far gotten away with feeding the situation with no consequences.”

Michelle Horning wrote that the shooting “wouldn’t have happened if everyone who was supposed to help in this situation had swallowed their personal biases” and done their jobs. “She was left misunderstood and screaming in the dark. Our broken system has failed us again, and my family is more broken than it’s ever been.”

Ashley Horning’s Facebook page indicates she attended Riverside High School in Chattaroy and Spokane Community College. She briefly lived in Australia, where she worked in customer service for a software company. She also sold lingerie at Victoria’s Secret, managed a Dollar Tree store and worked as a dancer at a Spokane strip club.