Arrest made in New Year’s Day hotel shooting death

Ashlei Hinds poses to celebrate getting into Louisiana State University. (Courtesy Tiffany Falden)

An 18-year-old D.C. man has been arrested and charged with the killing of 18-year-old Ashlei Hinds, who was shot to death at a New Year’s party at a Friendship Heights hotel.

D.C. police have arrested Jelani Cousin, of Northeast, and charged him with second degree murder while armed.

“I’m glad that … he was arrested and … now [we] just wait for the judicial system to convict him and get all of the details and make sure whoever is responsible … if it’s not just him — somebody else or whatever — is convicted and we get justice,” Hinds’ mother, Tiffany Falden of Clinton, Maryland, told WTOP.

Police said the shooting happened around 1:20 a.m. on Jan. 1. Hinds was found inside a seventh floor room at the Embassy Suites Hotel in the 4300 block of Military Road NW.

Ashlei Hinds smiles and poses in a graduation gown
Eighteen-year-old Ashlei Hinds graduated earlier in 2023 as an honors student from Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. (Courtesy Tiffany Falden)

Falden had just spoken to her daughter on the phone earlier in the evening.

“I talked to Ashlei at 11:55 to be exact, and we talked until close to midnight, like 11:59 … we told each other we loved each other. I told her to be safe, have fun … and an hour later, [I] received this devastating phone call,” Falden said.

Falden said she has received an outpouring of love and support since her daughter was killed.

“I didn’t know how many people loved her or how many people she stayed in contact with, how many people she talked to,” Falden said. “Seeing her text messages, even at midnight, how many people she wished a Happy New Year to after we got off the phone.”

“Just the love and support of everyone is just really keeping me going. Without family and friends, I honestly don’t know where I would be or how I would feel right now.”

Hinds was home for the holidays from her freshman year at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She graduated earlier in 2023 as an honors student from Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

“She was, her senior year, student government overall president, a part of the National Honor Society, just an overall good kid … never had any problems in school whatsoever,” Falden said.

Falden said she plans to look for a way to turn her pain into something positive.

“I plan to keep her legacy alive, try to figure out something, maybe do some type of foundation for her,” Falden said. “She won’t be forgotten.”

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2024 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up