Witnesses detail horrific aftermath of downtown Spokane shooting that left two dead

Two people are dead and a third is seriously injured after a drive-by shooting outside a downtown Spokane bar early Saturday scared customers away.

A suspect was arrested, but police would not identify the person. When asked if there were any other suspects, the SPD said the agency was investigating.

Spokane police spokeswoman Julie Humphreys said it was too early in the investigation to tell if the shooting was gang-related. sergeant. Terry Preuninger said there was no indication the victims had any connection to the shooter.

Saturday’s killings were the latest in a series of escalating violence in Spokane. Drive-by shootings in the city were down 2.4% in 2021, but that was after rising 30.9% from the three-year average from 2018 to 2020, according to Spokane police data. . The total number of shootings increased by 60.6% in 2021 and climbed 148.9% last year compared to the average of the previous three years.

The shooting began just before 1:30 a.m. when police were called to Lucky’s Irish Pub, 408 W. Sprague Ave.

Officers found three victims and began providing medical attention as bar patrons ran, police said.

“It was pretty chaotic,” said Preuninger, who said he was the second officer on the scene.

The victims were a man and a woman who stood outside the bar and a female taxi driver who was parked east of Lucky’s, police said. It is not known which of the three was killed.

Meghan George, 25, said she and her friend were outside Lucky when she heard four gunshots. She said a man standing near her shouted to “get off”, so she and her friend fell to the sidewalk.

He was shot and killed moments later.

“He didn’t deserve it,” said George, who said the man was an innocent bystander.

Preuninger said the shooter’s vehicle was driving the wrong way east on Sprague Avenue while someone fired a handgun into the vehicle. Shortly after broadcasting a description of the vehicle to law enforcement, a Washington State Patrol trooper saw a match and detained the driver on U.S. Highway 2 outside the city limits, said Preuninger.

That person, the only arrest made in the case on Saturday night, faces three counts of shooting while driving, officers said.

When officers arrived, Preuninger said it looked like there had been a big fight outside the bar, but it was actually people trying to treat one of the victims.

George said six more shots rang out as she and her friend were on the ground. Then they rushed inside Lucky and hid. George said she felt selfish for rushing into the bar instead of helping the man, whom she didn’t know. But she said she wasn’t sure her help would have saved him.

“I feel bad that I can’t help this guy,” she said.

George slipped white lilies between the black railing and the building where the man was killed. Dried blood was still visible on the sidewalk and the wall where she placed the flowers on Saturday afternoon.

George said the first set of flowers she put there were taken, so she replaced them. She said she would continue to lay flowers there if they were removed.

“I’m obviously very lucky, and it’s just sad to see that other people haven’t been so lucky,” she said.

George, who moved from Seattle earlier this year, said she might have been shot had it not been for a parallel parked vehicle in front of her on Sprague.

“I definitely could have gotten shot,” she said. “The only reason I didn’t was because a car was here.”

Leo Francovich and his friends were walking towards Mootsy’s early Saturday morning when he said he heard three shots ring out.

He said a friend of his slipped away.

“I’ve heard a gunshot before, but in my mind I was just like, ‘Oh, a car misfires or something,’ because I don’t expect that kind of violence. “said Francovich, who is the spokesperson’s brother. -Review editor Eli Francovich. “I’m not used to that.”

He said officers, who were patrolling a nearby bar, arrived almost immediately.

“They drove so fast,” Francovich said. “It was a crisis.”

Some people ran, while others tried to help a man who was shot, including some friends of Francovich.

“People were in shock,” he said.

“He was slumped against the wall of Lucky’s, and it was immediately clear that he was dead,” he said.

Two people were killed and a third seriously injured early Saturday in a drive-by shooting at the front bars of West Sprague Avenue in downtown Spokane.  (Mariah Valles/KHQ)
Two people were killed and a third seriously injured early Saturday in a drive-by shooting at the front bars of West Sprague Avenue in downtown Spokane. (Mariah Valles/KHQ)

Francovich said he saw a woman with a leg injury and was unaware there was a third victim.

“It was just a crazy night,” he said.

Francovich said he saw a vehicle speeding the wrong way down Sprague, heard the three shots, then the vehicle turned the corner the wrong way onto Washington Street. If he and his friends had left their previous destination 5 seconds earlier, they would have been “right above the shootout”, he said.

Charles Mayfield said he was sitting inside Mootsy’s when he heard the gunshots. He and others ran outside to help the woman who was shot in the leg. He said he was a friend of his. He also noticed that the taxi driver had been shot.

“It was pretty scary,” Mayfield said.

In addition to the three victims, at least one window was knocked out and police were looking for more bullets on Saturday morning, Preuninger said. There were several sockets in the street.

A bullet apparently hit the outside wall of PM Jacoy’s, a small grocery store next to Mootsy’s, as a “fault” tag was left by detectives near the damaged part of the wall.

One of the bullets from Saturday morning's drive-by shooting hit the exterior of Premier Jacoy's grocery store on the corner of Sprague Avenue and Washington Street in downtown Spokane.  (Garrett Cabeza / The Spokesman - Review)
One of the bullets from Saturday morning’s drive-by shooting hit the exterior of Premier Jacoy’s grocery store on the corner of Sprague Avenue and Washington Street in downtown Spokane. (Garrett Cabeza / The Spokesman – Review)

The Spokane County Medical Examiner will identify the two deceased individuals, Preuninger said.

The downtown shooting was the second to cause serious injuries in Spokane on Saturday. Earlier in the morning, police arrested a man on suspicion of assault after another man was shot twice on Queen Avenue. That victim was in serious but stable condition, officers said.

The incidents are unrelated, the SPD said.

Mayfield said the increase in shootings in Spokane was “out of control”.

Francovich said it was strange to see one so close.

“We live in a first world country and you don’t expect to see violent conflict in our communities, but it’s always a possibility,” he said. “It’s always, you know, hidden on the other side of things.”

David H. Henry