‘It’s scary’: Spokane Police adding extra patrols around parks after dark following shooting

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Police Department is now dedicating extra patrols to stick around local parks after they close.

Most Spokane parks are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., apart from Riverfront Park, which closes at midnight.

This response was prompted by the shooting at the Dwight Merkel Sports Complex earlier Wednesday morning. Two teenage boys, ages 15 and 16, were shot.

Erin Haines is used to hearing teens in the parking lot. Instead, this morning she heard arguing which escalated to gun shots.

“I thought [I heard] about 4 or 5, maybe 6,” she said. “It’s scary. You always want to know where your kids are at and what they’re doing when they’re not home with you and you just never know anymore.”

Stacey Williams who lives right across the street from the complex isn’t surprised.

“The activity, over there happens several nights a week. It’s disturbing, that a gun may have been brought into that situation. I’m not really shocked by it,” Williams said. “The activity at the park over here when it’s families doing sports, it’s beautiful. But the night owls…the night owls are the problem.”

Spokane Police say it’s not unusual for teenagers to hang out at parks, especially in the summertime. They have noticed an increase in arguments escalating, and ending with a gun or a deadly weapon.

SPD hopes these patrols will lead to fewer people congregating in the parks at night and deter crimes from occurring after hours.

READ: Two teenagers injured in shooting near Dwight Merkel Sports Complex