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18-year-old charged after LSU student Ashlei Hind's New Year's Eve murder at DC hotel

A suspect has been arrested for the allegedly shooting Louisiana State University student Ashlei Hinds inside a D.C. hotel room in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

A suspect has been arrested and charged with the shooting death of a young Louisiana State University student who was attending a New Year’s Eve party with her friends in Washington D.C.

Jelani Cousin, 18, of Northeast Washington, was nabbed by police on Tuesday while armed and has been charged with second-degree murder for fatally shooting 18-year-old Ashlei Hinds inside a D.C. hotel room in the early hours of New Year’s Day, Washington D.C. police said. 

The shooting occurred just before 1:20 a.m. on Jan. 1 and was the first homicide reported in the nation's capital in 2024.


Hinds was celebrating with a group of people in a hotel room at the Embassy Suites in Friendship Heights, about six miles northwest of Downtown D.C., her family told Fox 5. Some of those in attendance were her friends and others she didn’t know closely.

An area council member told Fox 5 that the celebrations turned ugly after someone was told to leave and then shots were fired.

Responding police found Hinds inside the hotel room with gunshot wounds. She died at the scene, police said. 

D.C. police disseminated CCTV screenshot images of the wanted perpetrator on Tuesday and arrested Cousin later that day. 


Hinds’ parents told FOX 5 she was a rising star, having graduated from Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Prince George's County last year as the Student Government Association president and a member of the National Honors Society. 

They said she was home on winter break from Louisiana State University where she was in her first year studying sports administration, with the hope of becoming either a sports agent or an athletic director.

"Ashlei was a great child," her father Ashton Hinds tearfully told FOX 5. "I will miss her so much." 

Hinds’ mother, Tiffany Falden, said she spoke with her daughter at around 11:55 p.m. Sunday up until around midnight, wishing each other Happy New Year and sharing "I love you" messages. 

"I just want justice and any other families, I mean, it could happen to anyone," Falden told Fox 5.

"I mean, nowadays, people are just walking down the street and things are happening. Just love your family. Hold them close. Keep them around and just pray it doesn’t happen to your child or family member or anybody else."

There were 274 homicides reported in Washington D.C. in 2023, the highest number of murders the city has seen since 1997, FOX 5 reported, citing online records. 

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