‘I’m tired of watching young people die’: Spokane law enforcement say gang violence is on the rise

SPOKANE, Wash. — A large majority of gang members in Spokane aren’t even 21 years old.

“I’m tired of watching young people die,” said Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

It’s something Spokane law enforcement says is alarming, but not surprising, as more of our youth are dying from gun violence in our community.

Knezovich presented data on Monday from this past year. The data shows there are 64 members linked to four separate gangs in the Spokane area that they know of.

More so, those gang members were also linked to multiple shootings that happened within the past year. The data also shows that within each of the gangs, 75% of the members are under 21 years old.

So, how do we break the cycle? Both Sheriff Knezovich and Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl say it’s about speaking up when you say something.

“When you look at the drive-bys that we have, the shootings that we have, our crime analysts believe that we actually have more than the numbers that are reported because a lot of these victims aren’t calling in,” said Meidl.

Reporting the crime is the first step, which Meidl says can be hard for those who have chosen that lifestyle. He says parents can also look to their local church or other community resources.