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Neighbors concerned over late night partying at Dwight Merkel Sports Complex

The neighbors believe if city staff would lock the parking lot gates at night, this might help solve the problem.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Neighbors who live near Dwight Merkel Sports Complex, where two teens were shot Tuesday night, said they constantly report loud partying happening in the parking lot. 

They believe if city staff would lock the parking lot gates at night, this might help solve the problem.

Spokane police said it appears a large group of teens got into a fight Tuesday night in the parking lot of the Sports Complex. The shooting happened shortly after. 

When officers arrived around 12:45 a.m., they found a 15 and 16-year-old boy who both had been shot. They were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

Witness videos show a massive police response to the area. Some videos show police talking to several people on scene. 

Stacey Williams lives near the sports complex. She said she reports late night activity several times during the week. 

“I can hear music, sometimes it’s yelling and screaming and sometimes they’re racing their cars and screeching their tires," Williams said. 

By the next day, Williams said the parking lot is littered with broken glass and bottles of alcohol.

"Just a couple weeks ago the parking lot was half full of vodka bottles, broken different colored glass bottles and all kinds of trash," Williams said. 

She wasn't surprised to see police activity in the parking lot Tuesday night. But this time, the partying got violent when two teen boys got shot. Williams finds the whole situation disheartening. 

"These young people either have little supervision or they are bored and have nothing to do," Williams said. "I'd like them to be more constructive. And it's really worrisome for the neighborhood." 

Spokane Parks and Recreation said all city parks close at 10 p.m., except for Riverfront Park which closes at midnight. The department relies on police to help enforce park hours. That's because Parks and Recreation has a small number of park rangers on staff who are primarily posted at Riverfront Park.  

As for closing the gates, after recent activity at Dwight Merkel Sports Complex, Parks and Recreation is currently looking into redirecting staff to close the gates each night.  

Police have not yet released any information about potential suspects. But they are following numerous active leads on case. Major Crimes Unit is now investigating. 

Because of what happened at the park Tuesday night, SPD is now increasing patrols around city parks for the summer.

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