Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By ill Stevenson
Whitman County Gazette 

Christmas Drive-by shooting driver not charged

Passenger receives mental evaluation, to plea on Feb. 4


January 27, 2022

COLFAX – The driver, of the car involved with a passenger allegedly shooting at a Colfax family on Dec. 22, is not being charged with a crime.

Janine E. Ludwig, 24, of Pullman, was booked into jail for drive by shooting and reckless driving but is not being charged, according to the Whitman County Prosecutor’s Office. She was driving her white Volkswagen Golf when her passenger allegedly shot a pistol at the Colfax family.

“Furth investigation showed she was not a willing participant in the crime,” said a prosecutor’s office spokesperson.

The additional investigation findings were not available but a charge of kidnapping was added to the charges filed against her passenger. The man was listed as being in a “dating relationship” with Ludwig in a police report concerning a domestic violence situation between the two.

Her passenger, Jamil M. Fields, 26, of Pullman, was charged with drive-by shooting, kidnapping in the second degree, and five counts of assault in the second degree in Whitman County Superior Court on Dec. 27.

Fields told a Whitman County sheriff’s deputy after he was arrested that he suffers from mental health issues.

“While I transported Fields to the jail, he made unsolicited statements to me indicating he had mental health problems,” wrote a deputy in a police report. “Fields told me he was supposed to be taking medications for his problems but had not been taking them.”

After allegedly talking about internet viruses and his need to search his cellphone for them, Fields asked to speak to his attorney.

His appointed defense attorney, Roger Sandberg, requested a psychological evaluation on Dec. 29 to “explore possible defenses or a plea on the basis of insanity in this matter,” according to court records.

Fields is to appear in person on Feb. 4 and enter a plea to the charges.

He is accused of shooting at a Colfax man and his family after they finished Christmas shopping in Pullman and were headed home on Dec. 22.

The three adults and two children were heading north on Davis Way in Pullman when Ludwig’s white Volkswagen Golf sped to catch up and began following their van closely, according to the sheriff’s office.

The Golf crossed a double-yellow line and passed the van, got in front of it and the driver slammed on the brakes and stopped. As the van driver tried to go around, the Golf driver turned the car toward the van, almost hitting hit the van. The van stopped and the Golf drove away, speeding up and slowing down as they drove toward U.S. Route 195, according to the investigation report.

The van driver later found the Golf stopped in the middle of the northbound lane. The driver of the Golf reversed the car toward the oncoming van with a passenger sitting in the open window.

“(He) said he saw the passenger shoot four times at his vehicle,” wrote the investigating deputy.

The van driver turned the vehicle around and fled south, telling his family to “duck down.”

The shooter missed the van but scared the passengers.

The van driver made two calls to 9-1-1. The first call was to report the aggressive driving, and the second was to report being shot at while on US 195. He provided the license plate number and description of the car during the first call and described the shooter and the gun during the second call.

Pullman police determined the owner of the Golf was Ludwig, went to her home to find her car was not there, according to court records.

The Golf was found by the Washington State University police driving on Pullman Airport Road, at nearly midnight, heading toward Moscow, Idaho. The car was stopped and a female driver and male passenger were arrested.

A Glock 9 mm pistol was reportedly found in the passenger door compartment. Fields allegedly had two magazines for the Glock and one had only 9 rounds remaining in it, according to a deputy’s report.

A search warrant was used to recover the pistol and an unloaded shotgun from the Golf. Shotgun shells were in a holder on the stock and loose shells were found in the car. Several cellphones were also found and they were all on.


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