Spokane’s Third Shooting In Less Than Three Weeks: Is Violent Cr - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane’s Third Shooting In Less Than Three Weeks: Is Violent Crime Up?

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SPOKANE, Wash – Monday night's shooting marks the third in Spokane in less than three weeks, after 26-year-old Billy Wessels was arrested in West Central for shooting a man in the leg after witnesses reported Wessels was punching and kicking his girlfriend, who just broke up with him a few days ago.

That shooting victim is expected to survive, but 33-year-old Devon Mack wasn't so lucky.  He was shot and killed at a home in North Spokane Friday, and police have an arrest warrant out for Joshua Tillery, 33, for second-degree murder.

And before that, a shooting in late April in Browne's Addition left one man injured, who was installing carpet when he was shot.  Justin Werle, 28, was later arrested in that case.

While these stories do get a lot of attention, Spokane Police crime numbers show that criminal homicides are actually down in Spokane.  So far in 2013, 6 people have lost their lives, and while that is certainly 6 too many, during the same time period in 2012, 8 people died, marking a drop of 25%.

However, not all homicides involve guns, and not all gun crimes are homicides.  Specific data relating to gun violence in homicides or aggravated assault was not immediately available Tuesday.

Monday's shooting in the 2500 block of West Boone had neighbors pretty shaken up.

"I saw two guys arguing, and I heard a loud pop, and the one guy dropped and the other guy ran off," next-door neighbor Leslie Eldred told KHQ.

She was one of the people to call 911, and police were there for hours investigating.

Court records show shooting suspect Billy Wessels was upset over his girlfriend breaking up with him, came to the home Monday night, and told her, "I'm going to kill you."  Witnesses report he punched and kicked her before a shot was fired into the leg of another man there.  Witnesses say Wessels then pointed the gun at his girlfriend before running off.

Wessels made his first court appearance Tuesday, charged with two counts of second-degree domestic violence, and one count of felony harassment (threats to kill).  He's being held on $100,000.

Police say the West Central neighborhood is a hot spot for crime, but they are targeting such hot spots and putting their resources where they're most needed.

In fact, a police officer was close enough Monday night to hear the shot that Wessels is accused of firing. 

Police cite a drop in crime in the downtown Spokane area as proof that their targeted enforcement is working to help bring those crime statistics down.

 

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