Rhaiyanna Earley

Rhaiyanna Earley. Photo courtesy El Paso Sheriff's Office via KKTV.

A long-simmering dispute ended with gunfire that left an 83-year-old woman dead in a bathtub and a 58-year-old woman in jail, El Paso County Sheriff’s deputies said in court papers.

Rhaiyanna Earley is facing first-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the killing of Christine Rush and for allegedly firing a shot at another person, according to the papers.

Sheriff’s deputies responded Saturday morning just before 11 a.m. to reports of an active shooter at a home in the 1600 block of Maxwell Street. When deputies arrived, they found Earley in the home covered in blood, according to court documents. She was taken into custody before deputies found Rush in the bathtub, dead from an apparent gunshot wound, the papers show.

The county coroner’s office will determine Rush’s official cause of death.

During the incident, Earley also allegedly fired several shots at John Elrod, the homeowner with whom she was in an on-again, off-again relationship, according to court documents. One witness told deputies they saw Earley fire a gun at Elrod at least three times as she chased him out of the home.

Elrod told deputies he was inside the home early Saturday when he heard a gunshot, then saw Earley standing in the hallway and holding a gun. He said he ran when he saw the weapon, according to the documents.

Surveillance cameras at neighboring homes recorded audio of the shooting, in which Earley can be heard yelling at Elrod to “keep running” and fired at least five more gunshots, court documents show.

Elrod was not injured.

He told detectives he had a relationship with Earley for several years and she had moved into the home about two months ago. Elrod said he broke up multiple physical fights between Rush and Earley and that on the morning of the shooting Earley and Rush had been fighting.

Earley is being held without bail at the El Paso County jail.

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@leslie_m_james

Leslie James is all about Colorado when it comes to writing features, sharing adventures, and creating colorful galleries. She loves camping, hiking, mountain biking and snowboarding. Leslie joined OutThere Colorado in November 2020.

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Breeanna Jent covers El Paso County government. She previously worked as the editorial assistant for the Pikes Peak Newspapers and joined their sister paper, The Gazette, in 2020.

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