Police shut down Knitting Factory after shootings

No suspects in custody; police think shootings are gang-related

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Police Department has shut down the Knitting Factory in the wake of two separate shootings that injured four people early Monday morning.

During a press conference in a parking lot across the street from the Knitting Factory Monday morning, Police Chief Frank Straub announced the Knitting Factory's closure.

The Spokane Police Department's Twitter account said that these violent acts would not be tolerated, so the music venue was being shut down because of public safety concerns. The department, via Twitter, reported that Straub wants the Knitting Factory to work with police to prevent violence.

Police have responded to four shootings at the Knitting Factory in the last year, including Monday morning's shooting. Police report that just after 2 a.m., two people were shot at the Knitting Factory, where a private party was held Sunday evening. Then, just before 3 a.m. Monday, two more people were shot near Maple Street and Nora Avenue in Northwest Spokane.

Knitting Factory shutdown

Police said an after-party for the concert was going on at the second shooting. Investigators believe both shootings are gang-related.

"What we have is problem people, problem places and problem activities," Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub said during a press conference Monday morning, standing in a parking lot across from the Knitting Factory.

Police also said they the second shooting may have been in retaliation for the shooting at the Knitting Factory. All four victims have non-life-threatening gunshot wounds. Now Straub is listing the popular concert venue as a problem location.

"I want the community to understand that the Spokane Police Department is in no way, shape or form going to tolerate these acts of violence," he said.

In addition to the four shootings outside the Knitting Factory in the last year, there have also been 60 calls for police service and 25 emergency medical calls, enough of a public safety concern for the police to close the venue for 20 days pending an appeal.

The news of the closure came as a shock for the bands playing this weekend.

"We woke up this morning to Facebook blowing up that the show's been cancelled," Sid Andrew Broderius, singer for Storm Normandy, said.

Broderius added he'll plan on playing till he hears otherwise.

"We really don't know what's been going on. The whole thing is in limbo," he said.

Other bands have been told by Knitting Factory management to plan on playing.

"The Knitting Factory has always been super cool to local bands," Broderius said.

Straub said police spoke with Knitting Factory management after the first shootings happened. Following Monday morning's incident it seems the police want to send a stronger message.

"The idea here is to get them to work with us to control the behavior of the people that are using their property," he said.

Bands and fans just want the music to play on.

"If it closes down I'll be a little bit disappointed, just because I feel like they're out one last home for a big venue in Spokane," Broderius said.

Straub didn't say if the two shootings were related he did say they both involved gang members. Nobody was killed, and police say they are looking for the men responsible.

Police report crime so far this year is down 10.5-percent in the downtown area, and Straub said it is community involvement that will keep those numbers going down.

Monday evening, the Knitting Factory released a statement saying that it would cooperate fully with the Spokane Police Department and redouble its efforts to insure the concert venue remains safe for patrons.

"The actions of a very, very few people—and incidents like this—tarnish by extension the reputations of venues like ours.  This Knitting Factory and its predecessors have operated a concert venue at this location for nearly ten years.  Over one million patrons have safely enjoyed world-class entertainment at our venue over years of operation," Greg Marchant, Knitting Factory COO, wrote in that statement.

"We've spoken to Police Chief Straub and Mayor Condon's offices to offer our support in the investigation and to redouble our commitment to the safety of our artists and guests.   We hope for a speedy recovery to all involved and to justice for the alleged perpetrators.  We are looking forward to continuing our cultural contributions to the Downtown Arts District at the highest level of quality," Marchant added.

To read the Knitting Factory's full statement, click here.