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First-degree murder charge dropped in fatal Ashland Walmart shooting

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- The first-degree murder and use of a firearm charge to commit murder charge against the 24-year-old woman arrested in a deadly shooting in the Ashland Walmart parking lot in February have been dropped.

Brittany Wiggins, who is represented by defense attorney Joe Morrissey, still faces charges of use of a firearm in commission of a felony and shooting into an occupied vehicle in connection to the shooting.

Ashley Fricke, 25, was found in a car parked outside Walmart when police were called to store at about 11 p.m. to investigate a shooting. She had suffered a single gunshot wound, police said, and was pronounced dead on the scene.

Investigators said Fricke and Wiggins had no known connection.

Brittany Wiggins (left) and Ashley Fricke

Brittany Wiggins (left) and Ashley Fricke

Morrissey previously said that Wiggins fired her gun in the air to scare off two men she said were harassing her for being a lesbian.

Feeling threatened by the men, Wiggins got into her vehicle and pulled out her gun, Morrissey said. During the tense exchange, Morrissey said Wiggins fired a warning shot into the air.

“We now know that errant bullet struck the innocent victim,” Morrissey said.

Wiggins did not know that anyone had been fatally shot, Morrissey said, until images of her were released to the public and then she promptly turned herself into police.

He said the Wiggins family was heartbroken over the loss of life.