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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

‘Little Red’ pleads guilty to connection with 2020 drive-by shooting in Hillyard

Sept. 20, 2022 Updated Tue., Sept. 20, 2022 at 7:43 p.m.

A 31-year-old man, nicknamed “Little Red,” pleaded guilty Tuesday for his role in an August 2020 shooting at a Hillyard self-storage unit.

As part of a plea agreement, Nicholas A. O’Neill pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and attempting to elude police – the latter of which stemmed from an incident in April 2020.

O’Neill originally faced attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and drive-by shooting charges for the Aug. 5 shooting at Self Storage of Spokane, 4415 N. Market St. Several charges were also dismissed from other cases as part of O’Neill’s plea before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Annette Plese.

The prosecution and defense recommended O’Neill serve 12 years in prison for the assault and eluding charges. Plese is scheduled to sentence O’Neill Oct. 21.

According to court documents, Samuel Aldrich arranged to meet a potential buyer of auto parts Aug. 5 at the storage unit. Aldrich’s friend, Tami Tedrow, gave him a ride to the facility.

Video footage showed the driver of a red Toyota Camry approaching Aldrich from behind at the storage facility, documents said. Tedrow told police four armed males occupied the Toyota and started shooting at Aldrich.

Surveillance showed the rear passenger of the Toyota open their door and point a handgun at the back of Aldrich’s head from about 2 feet away, according to court documents. The footage showed Aldrich running, “likely in fear of his life,” a detective said.

Aldrich drew a handgun from his waistband and fired shots at the Toyota as it passed in front of him, the footage showed. It also showed the rear seat passenger step out and fire shots from a handgun at Aldrich.

No one was injured, according to documents. A Spokane police officer collected seven 9 mm shell casings from the scene.

Tedrow said Aldrich told her as they fled, “It’s O’Neill,” who is also known as “Little Red.”

A detective determined the person seated in the front passenger seat of the Toyota appeared to resemble O’Neill based on recent photos of O’Neill and his tattoos, court records said. O’Neill was holding an AR-15 style rifle while in the vehicle.

Video footage showed a female near a silver Pontiac Grand Am appeared to act as a lookout on a cellphone prior to the Toyota arriving at the facility, according to documents. It showed the female driving away in the Pontiac after the shooting.

The sentencing range for second-degree assault is a little more than five years in prison to seven years, with a maximum sentence of 10 years and a $20,000 fine. The range for attempt to elude is 22 to 29 months behind bars with a maximum punishment of five years and a $10,000 fine.

The prosecution and defense recommended 10 years for the assault charge and two years for the eluding charge. The sentences would run consecutively for a 12-year total based on the recommendation.

The assault charge is O’Neill’s second strike, which means if he commits another serious felony, he will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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