Downtown businesses are gearing up for battle, facing off against a gang of kids and teens terrorizing the downtown core. Multiple victims have been hospitalized after encounters with the group and now they're asking police to step up.
On Monday, KXLY shared the story of Dave Reynolds, a bouncer at downtown bar Jimmy'Z. He was walking to his motorcycle two weeks ago after work when he was approached by about 20 of the teens. They asked for his motorcycle helmet, Reynolds said no and the teens began beating him.
“I was completely unconscious laying in the middle of the road and they were stomping me in the face and kicking me in the head,” Reynolds said.
The 5 foot 6 inch former infantryman was not match for 20 teens on a ruthless mission.
“I think it will get worse and I think it has gotten worse over the last, you know, week or two,” Reynolds said.
One of his attackers was arrested and arraigned Tuesday on charges of Second Degree Assault. He'll be held on $20,000 bond.
After Reynolds' story ran, KXLY received calls and emails with more stories of these teen “thugs” - as they call them – terrorizing downtown.
Danny Manning is a cab driver and often parks outside the downtown bars waiting for businesses. He says that's an open invite for the teens to start harassing him.
“I think they're capable of murder, just from the group thug tactics they're using on people,” Manning said.
Manning has been punched in the back of the head, jumped by seven teens at one time and has also been threatened on multiple occasions – once, a teen said he would stick him with an 'aids-infected needle'.
“I've seen them with knives, sticks, Tasers, chains, broken bottles, anything they can get their hands on,” Manning said.
The stories of violence only escalate; two cooks at The Satellite Diner were hospitalized, one with a skull fracture. Another bar installed razor wire on the roof to keep the teens from climbing the building and breaking in.
Other business owners say they've locked themselves in their businesses at night until the coast is clear.
Only a few in the group of ragtag teens have been arrested. Part of the problem is that they're too quick for the police.
“This group is committing these crimes, they're able to disperse prior to law enforcement arriving and so we can only do so much,” Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said. “We have to catch them in the act.”
The city of Spokane might consider a curfew to give police a reason to bust the teens. They'll try anything to stop the growing threat.
“It's absolutely on the radar of police, in fact, I just left a meeting about 'what are we going to do? Hoopfest is this weekend. We need to aggressively target this,” DeRuwe said.