‘We’re scared’: People worry about shooting spikes in Spokane, turn to self defense for protection

SPOKANE, Wash. — Shootings are up in Spokane. It’s been a trend for years, and people and police are trying to get a handle on the issue.

So far this year, there have been 21 shootings, according to Spokane Police.

Here’s a breakdown of the rise in shootings over the years:

  • 2018: 36 shootings
  • 2019: 52 shootings
  • 2020: 94 shootings
  • 2021: 152 shootings

There were 10 shootings in just this past week police are still investigating. One of those happened at Gordon and Division where the victim fired back at someone who shot bullets into his living room, narrowly missing the family inside. Since that shooting, neighbors say they’re organizing a crime watch team to fight the issue. The man shot at says he won’t leave his home without a gun again.

Another drive-by shooting in East Spokane on East 5th Avenue and South Fiske Avenue has one mom ready to move out for good.

“We’re scared,” said Jamie Anderson. She has a son who says hasn’t slept well since the last shooting. “We’re trying to move out of this area and into a better area.”

The shooting spikes across the city are something police are worried about.

“It certainly is a troubling one that we want to try and get a handle on get under control,” said Nick Briggs, a Corporal with the Spokane Police.

He adds this rise in gun violence is a national trend, but they are concerned about the local increase and are working to find the people committing the shootings.

Gun shop owners say people are handling their own safety instead.

“They have to take their own precautions and do what they feel is necessary to keep their families safe,” said Jeremy Ball. He’s the owner of Sharp Shooting Indoor Range & Gun Shop.

He says his gun sales haven’t gone down since the start of the pandemic. High sales are the “new normal.” Last year, the nation saw the second highest amount of guns sold on record. At Ball’s shop, he says he seeing more first time gun owners buying small compact guns they can keep on them.

“We’re still seeing lots and lots of sales in small compact guns that people are using as carry weapons,” he said.

Anderson says she owns a gun but even that isn’t giving her the protection she wants.

“If a stray bullet comes through my door, we can’t stop that or it comes through my wall, we can’t stop that,” she said.

Police say people need to be careful with self defense. It’s a complicated issue if you don’t know the rights you can use to stay safe.

“It gets to be a very convoluted and complex legal analysis in terms of what somebody can and can’t do,” Briggs said.

What Briggs said you should do is report any information about these crimes and others to police as they work to keep Spokane safe. They also added in relation to other cities similar in size, the city still has a relatively low crime rate. Major Crimes and the Spokane Regional Safe Streets Task Force are actively investigating these recent shootings.

READ: Man shot, killed in Spokane Valley identified, shooter still at large