Shooting shuts down Knitting Factory for 20 days

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by HAYLEY GUENTHNER & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on February 18, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 21 at 6:25 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Spokane Police Chief ordered the Knitting Factory to close on Monday morning. The decision is effective immediately but can be appealed.

Police have responded to four shootings outside of the venue in the past year. The most recent shooting was early Monday morning.

Chief Frank Straub told KREM 2 News that he is closing the concert venue because of public safety concerns.

“I want the community to understand the Spokane Police Department will in no way, shape or form tolerate these acts of violence,” added Straub.
 
He referenced recent crime statistics as a reason for making his decision. Straub said that crime in downtown declined by 10% but that the Knitting Factory is a constant problem. One of the Knitting Factor's customers, Debora Gardner, was disappointed by the decision but not surprised.

“I like going to the Knitting Factory, but obviously gangs are a big issue,” said Gardner, "there's just a lot of younger people fighting, causing disruption.”

Knitting Factory managers have 20 days to appeal Straub’s decision to close their venue. Straub said that managers need to call police for help if they are allowed to reopen.

“The idea here is to get them to work with us to control the behavior of the people who are using their property,” said Straub.

A shooting outside of the Knitting Factory on Monday left two people injured. Officers said neither victim was critically hurt. 

Police arrived on the scene just after 2 a.m. Investigators said a private party was underway inside the club at the time of the shooting. Officers shut down Sprague Avenue between Post and Lincoln during the investigation.

About 30 minutes later, authorities got a call of a second shooting and a vehicle “peeling out” near Maple and Nora.  Nearly 20 officers rushed to that scene and found two more men had been shot in the area.  Both victims are expected to be okay but were taken to the hospital for their injuries.

Investigators said the shootings are connected and gang related.  So far, no arrests have been made but officers said they have identified the involved parties.  However, anyone with information regarding the shootings is urged to call Crimestoppers 800-222-TIPS.

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