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

Family frustrated after suspect in apartment complex shooting remains free, shooter claims self-defense

Tony Loehding, 53, was shot and killed at an apartment in the 1000 block of East Cossa Drive on Jan. 8.  (Courtesy of the Loehding family)

A man shot and killed his mother’s ex-boyfriend earlier this month during an altercation with a knife, according to court records.

Tony Loehding, 53, was shot and killed at an apartment at 1015 E. Cozza Drive on Jan. 8. Loehding’s son said he is frustrated the shooter hasn’t been arrested.

The shooter, identified in court documents as Albert Christie, was detained immediately following the shooting but has since been released.

Police said they were called to the shooting at the Cedar Springs Estates at about 11:20 a.m. There they found Loehding dead. Christie was detained and cooperated with police, they said the day of the shooting.

Police did not release any information on the circumstances surrounding the shooting, but a search warrant filed in Spokane County Superior Court gave a small look into the investigation.

Loehding and his girlfriend, Michelle Christie, had recently broken up, and she was moving out with the help of her son, Albert Christie, and other family members, according to a search warrant.

Loehding and the group were arguing when Loehding went into his bedroom and came out with a knife, according to the search warrant.

That’s when Albert Christie drew his firearm and told Loehding to stop. When Loehding continued to move toward Albert Christie, he shot him multiple times, according to the search warrant.

The Christies then called 911, according to court documents.

Loehding’s son, A.J. Loehding, said he has been struggling since his father’s death.

A.J. Loehding grew up living with his grandparents but had recently begun working on his relationship with his father. They spent Christmas together, Loehding recalled.

Tony Loehding lived in Spokane his entire life and worked in construction for the past three decades, his son said.

On the day of the shooting, A.J. Loehding’s mother called and told him what happened.

“It was pretty shocking,” he said.

A.J. Loehding doesn’t believe his father would have hurt anyone and said his father was found with a phone in his other hand. He believes his father was likely threatening to call police himself, A.J. Loehding said.

“If he felt like he was getting threatened in his own house he would have grabbed the closest thing, which could have been a knife,” A.J. Loehding said.

It was his father’s apartment, A.J. Loehding said, and the Christies could have left.

“You have the opportunity to leave if there’s an issue,” Loehding said. “I feel like it could have been handled definitely differently.”

Albert Christie did not immediately respond to request for comment.

A close family friend, Kelly Joy, also lived at the apartment and witnessed the shooting, Loehding said. The next day, Joy also died, A.J. Loehding said.

He believes his Joy died from a heart attack, but toxicology results are still pending, A.J. Loehding said. Joy recently had surgery and had been struggling with his health, A.J. Loehding said.

“I’m sure it was just a lot to see his brother, you know, die right in front of him basically,” A.J. Loehding said. “I’m sure it was just a lot of heartache for him and stress.”

In the weeks since the shooting, A.J. Loehding said investigators haven’t updated him on the case.

“I’m pretty furious about it,” A.J. Loehding said of Christie being released.

Investigations take time and have to look not just at the actions taken but the motivations behind those actions, said Cpl. Nick Briggs with the Spokane Police Department.

“In general, criminal investigations are often much more complex than they may appear, and that is especially true in homicide investigations,” Briggs wrote in an email. “The physical action of an individual is only one component of a criminal charge. Many other factors, such as an individual’s mental state, mitigating circumstances, culpability thresholds, and the applicability of specific criminal statutes, are all evaluated.”

While investigators try to keep victim’s families updated, they also have to work multiple cases at once, Briggs said.

A.J. Loehding is frustrated that investigators haven’t stayed in touch or explained why Christie was released.

“I’m just kind of in the dark,” A.J. Loehding said. “I just feel like no justice has been served at all. It’s crazy, I just don’t get it.”

Editor’s Note: This story has been update to correct Kelly Joy’s relationship to the Loehding family.