SPOKANE, Wash. – A fight that started around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, ended with ten to fifteen victims and two arrests.
Spokane Police have been fighting the problem of growing violence in downtown for quite some time. Repeated problems near the Knitting Factory even lead to a shut down of the concert venue for a few days by Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub.
Now, because of the sheer volume of victims, the incident downtown Sunday morning involving ten to fifteen people is being forwarded to The Spokane Major Crimes Unit for further investigation.
According to witnesses, the fight first started on W Sprague Avenue and S Howard Street. The Spokane Crime Map shows that within the past month, there have been 150 incidents within half a mile of that intersection. Of those incidents, there were six vehicle thefts, 27 cases of other theft, and 24 assaults.
Noel Macapagal who works at The Wave Island Sports Grill and Sushi Bar downtown, says that in the past eight years, he has only seen the crime increase.
"It's the worst it's ever been, whether its gang violence, personal theft, personal property damage, It's the worst it's ever been," Macapagal said.
Macapagal told KHQ he received a call from several employees at The Wave who witnessed the assault that started near the restaurant.
Spokane Police say the fight stopped and started again several blocks away, each time with more victims.
One witness who asked to remain anonymous says the men responsible even started hitting women in their group during the fight.
Spokane Police did arrest a 23-year-old male for one count disorderly conduct and also a 24-year-old male for obstruction after he tried to interfere with the arrest.
However, Spokane Police say they are looking into rumors that some of those involved may have been members of a PAC-12 basketball team that was in town over the weekend.
One victim filed a charge for simple assault, which is a misdemeanor. However, it will be up to the major crimes unit to identify additional suspects.
Right now, one issue is clear, violence like this downtown is negatively affecting businesses in the area.
"This isn't the best business environment to be successful in right now," Macapagal said. "This is the heart of Spokane according to our elected officials and I can tell you right now there's heartburn going on, there's a lot of troubles."
Spokane Police also say they do have officers patrolling the area on a regular basis, but last night they had fewer available to respond to the incident.