Killing Time at Shadow Mountain High

When bad things happen to good neighbors

Ryan had apparently been acquainted with Chris' younger sister Jamie, a pretty and athletic girl who used to attend Shadow Mountain, and who is known to be as sweet as her brother is not. Ryan had given her rides home after school, and had once attended a party at her house while Chris was present.

In police reports, both Chris' and Ryan's friends say that Ryan took a dislike to Chris at that party and later trashed him around town, calling him a "punk ass" among other things.

Last March 18, there was a confrontation between the two boys at Shadow Mountain, and whether Chris sought out Ryan to confront him, or just ran into him by chance while dropping off his sister, is open to interpretation. They argued, Chris allegedly called Ryan out for a fight right then and there, and Ryan told him he'd meet him after school.

Chris didn't show for the after-hours fight, so an enraged Ryan jumped in his car and drove to Chris' house--followed by several of his friends--and stood in the front yard shouting for Chris to come outside to fight. Chris stayed in the house while his mother called police.

Ryan's parents never heard a word about it.
"We never knew of Chris Colombi," says Loretta Winn. "We never knew a Jamie Colombi. And when people would call, we would ask who they were."

And, improbably, many of Ryan's best friends claim they never knew that there was an ongoing dispute between the boys, let alone one that was leading to killing.

Just like Ryan Winn, Chris Colombi told his mother he was going out to watch the Fourth of July fireworks display. He took Jamie with him, and they went to pick up Chris' friend Naaman Haynes, then gathered with other teens at an apartment near Cave Creek and Sweetwater roads.

Chris, Jamie, Haynes, another young man named Philemon Ingram, and two brothers, Travis and Justin Schelling, got in Chris' mother's car and headed for the party.

On the short ride there, according to witness accounts in the police reports, Travis, the older of the Schelling boys, argued with his younger brother about going to the party, telling him that walking into a yard full of jocks would be nothing but trouble, since they had had problems with jocks in the past.

Finally, Jamie Colombi and Travis got out of the car and walked back tothe apartments without attending the party.

Chris and his friends had already been drinking beer. They paid their way into the party, bought some marijuana there, and sat in their car and smoked it. Then they went back to the yard where Chris Colombi committed the desperate act of shooting another boy in front of more than 50 witnesses who knew his name.

After the shooting, some of the boys ran back to the apartment; Chris drove. When he got there, Justin later told his mother a detail that could show premeditation on Chris' part.

According to Coni Schelling, Travis had asked Chris, "Did you shoot him?" or "Did you get him?"

Chris responded by pantomiming the way that Ryan fell.
Later, under police interrogation, neither of the Schelling brothers would admit that that conversation ever occurred, but Coni Schelling, their mother, holds fast to her story.

"I know that night something was going on because Travis tried to talk Justin into not going," she says.

Travis later told police that he had no knowledge of Chris' intentions--if any--when he went to a party where everyone disliked him. He claimed he just had the sense to stay away from trouble. And if he thought Chris had ruined his own life by shooting Ryan, Travis still gave police a chilling rationalization of the act, revealing the depths of polarization and free-floating hostility in the teenage universe.

"It's no worse than what them jocks do every day to people they don't like," he said. "If someone doesn't fit in with them or nothing, they're always fucking around. Jumping people, kicking people's butt all the time, and the reason is they don't like the way they look or they don't like how they act, and that's none of their fucking business. You know? That's how it's always been. That's how it was when I went to school there. I was always fighting with them fags."

After the shooting, the word in the neighborhood was that Chris' friends would go after Ryan's friends.

Tyler Daniel, another Shadow Mountain athlete who had been at the beer party, admits that he got a phone call and that police had warned him that threats were being made against him.

One source told NewTimes that Chris' mother has confided to her co-workers that Tyler stalked her son with a gun in the parking lot of a local drugstore. Joan Colombi would not comment on the incident. Tyler denies the allegation, but says that he did in fact see Chris at the store.

"I didn't know it was him until he drove away and started throwing up his gang signs out of the window," Tyler says.

Connie Richardson says that her son Danny also received threats, but that police and prosecutors told her not to worry about them.

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My Voice Nation Help

ryan was shot on July 4th 1995. when the gun fired none of the 100 guests reacted, they thought it was firecrackers. the gun wasn't against his chest, probably 10 feet away. while pat didn't follow ryan I did. ryan didn't say anything to chris before striking him. ryan struck him on the side of the head, in the ear and continued with well aimed punches in the back of chris's head. chris turned his back to the assault but ryan continued. i was waiting for chris to fall so i could have a piece of the fallen stranger to release my "teen spirit" chris saved himself from the beating by turning around with the gun and firing repeatedly. ryan crumpled forwArd to the ground. i called 911 on the house phone. they asked where he was shot, they told me to look. there was a crowd around ryan, i pushed them away and pulled up his shirt. it looked like someone took a hot screw driver and stabbed him all over his torso with dark puncture holes and a circle of black soot around the holes. i could see where the normal contour of his ribs was disrupted. there was a small amount of blood from one of his arms but otherwise it was all internal bleeding. ryan was pale, not speaking and many people were screaming in terror. 911 kept me on the phone till the ambulance got there.

the detective really screwed up my statement. i didn't find out till years later when a former co-worker of mine ended up with a different job where she stumbled onto the bogus report. she sent me a copy. the report was totally facticious to side with ryan, the initiator, and the one who died that night.

i didn't know either of the boys names until the shooting. no one chased chris anywhere he ran right out of the backyard and went home to his parents i beleive.

chris could have pulled the trigger fewer times or shot him in the legs to stop the brutal assault.

i was subenad for the defense but chris settled out of court.

Similar story for the stabbings. the caucasian boys were last seen drunk driving away from Christy Cove Park holding their 40's out the window yelling out that they were gonna kick some ass. they found their younger smaller victims at pv mall. the drunk caucasiAns beat the latino boys into the pavement, turned their backs and walked away as if they had "won". the latino boys recovered, brandished their knives, rushed up on the boys who had just assaulted them and, without warning, began stabbing their perpetrators to death.

in both murderous events the dead had initiated the violence without just cause and were met by superior violence; in the first case in self defense and in the second for revenge.

I have never seen anything so violent as ryan's death.

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