Pushing For Change In Spokane's Gang Violence - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Pushing For Change In Spokane's Gang Violence; Watch The Video

SPOKANE, Wash. - This morning's shooting is sending shock waves through the West Central Neighborhood. For one woman though, it's bringing back painful memories that are pushing her to call for change in Spokane.

"Crime can't come back, it just can't take over," said Cheryl Steele a long term resident of the West Central neighborhood.

Tuesday morning's shooting happened just feet from Steele's home. A terrible reminder of violence that happened outside of her door nearly 20 years ago, the kidnapping of her daughter's best friends 11-year-old Nicki Wood and 12-year-old Rebecca West. Nicki 's body was later found under a pile of burning pine needles, Rebecca's has never been found.

"It's not right, its not fair to anyone," said Steele.

Their tragic disappearance left a painful hole in the hearts of so many, but inspired Steele to take action. She's the woman responsible for creating Spokane's first COPS substation, a place where the girls' memorial still hangs today. This latest shooting though, Steele says, pushes her to take action even further.

"This shooting, it brings anger and fear to this street," said Steele. "Right now, it's to the level where I don't let my own grand kids stay here. It's to the point where my own adult kids want to take their kids and run for the hills because they are afraid of crime."

Steele says police are essential to stopping gang violence, but they can't fight it alone. She says it's the people of Spokane that must push for change, and as a member of Leadership Spokane she's calling on local lawmakers and asking her neighbors to rally behind her. To help send a message that gangs don't own Spokane and violence is not tolerated in their neighborhood.

"We can't let them get away with it, simply because we're too afraid to stand up to them and say something," said Steele. "We must say no to violence, we own this neighborhood and we can take it back."

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