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High school student identified as victim in New Year’s night shooting; suspect arrested

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The mother of Ashleigh, an 18-year-old high school senior, said that her daughter was the victim in a shooting late Sunday night on Bijou Street, a few blocks east of the Academy Boulevard intersection.

Danielle Grassie said that she's keeping her daughter's last name private for now, but that Ashleigh was shot once in each leg and that a bullet likely will remain in one leg.


Grassie has started a GoFundMe account to raise $15,000 in donations for Ashleigh's medical expenses, and for income lost by Grassie and her husband as they stay home to care for their daughter.

Ashleigh takes classes through an online program in School District 11, Grassie said, and is just a few courses from graduating; she also works 30 hours a week at a fast-food restaurant.

Grassie said that Ashleigh was driving home from work when she skidded on an icy patch of Bijou Street and got out of her car to see if it was damaged; and that she was shot from what police say was a distance of at least 100 yards.


Police so far have not revealed a motive for the shooting.

Grassie also said that another driver who saw Ashleigh hit the curb, got out to help her and was not shot; police said that driver has a dashboard camera but it didn't record the shooting.

"This appears to be a random crime with no connection between the suspect and victim," said spokesman Robert Tornabene. "There is some speculation that maybe the two vehicles side-by-side may have appeared to be law enforcement vehicles side-by-side, and maybe he thought he was potentially shooting at a police officer. We don't know. It's just that there's no way to identify the motive behind it."


Police said that the suspect, Justo Villa, 22, left foot tracks in the snow that led to a unit at The Vistas apartments nearby; officers contacted the occupants, received permission to enter for a search, seized a handgun and arrested Villa on a prior warrant for contempt of court.

"The gun was the same caliber of the shell casings found at the scene," Tornabene said.


Court records also indicate that Villa was on probation for a 2019 conviction on a charge of felony menacing.

Police later spoke with Ashleigh and determined that Villa is the suspect; he's accused of one count of first-degree assault and two counts of reckless endangerment.


"It was an amazing coordination of effort by the responders who went there -- including AMR, as well as our officers from our division, and the K9 unit -- to track this person down and take this person off the streets extremely quickly," Tornabene said.

Villa appeared before a judge Wednesday afternoon and was granted bond but had not left jail as of early evening.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.


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