SPOKANE — A downtown Spokane concert venue that was closed by police because of shootings says it’s working with authorities to reopen.
The Knitting Factory has canceled an event this Friday as a cooling off gesture.
Police Chief Frank Straub closed the venue after four people were wounded in two separate shootings early Monday near the club. He called it a public safety problem because of several shootings over the past year.
Managers have 20 days to appeal the closure.
Club operator Greg Marchant said he’s talking with police and the mayor’s office to support the shooting investigations and the safety of patrons. He said a concert venue has operated at the location for nearly 10 years, and that it is difficult to control what happens outside the building.
Known to fans as The Knit, the Knitting Factory seats about 2,000 people for concerts, and books many national acts.
No one was killed after two people were shot just after 2:15 a.m. Monday in a parking lot across the street from the Knitting Factory. Two more people were shot about 30 minutes later outside an apartment complex. Straub said both shootings were gang-related, but whether they are connected is still under investigation.
In announcing the shutdown of the venue, Straub cited four shootings related to Knitting Factory incidents in the past year and an “excessive” amount of other police and medical calls there.
“We were in the Knitting Factory only a few weeks ago after another shooting talking to them about how we can’t allow this type of behavior downtown,” Straub said. “We’re not going to tolerate this type of behavior in any one of our neighborhoods, let alone downtown.”
City spokeswoman Marlene Feist said the city suspended the Knitting Factory’s entertainment license. Police play a part in granting licenses and have the power to pull them.
The city notified the venue owners of the suspension, which only affects concerts and other live entertainment acts.
“If someone wants to have a drink there, they still can,” Feist said. “This doesn’t shut the business down. They cannot have a concert . until these things are resolved.”
Straub said the Knitting Factory has 20 days to appeal the decision.
They’re going to have to demonstrate to us that they’re serious,” Straub said.
Parent company Knitting Factory Entertainment released a statement Monday evening announcing the cancellation of only one event, a rap and hip-hop concert scheduled for Friday.
“We have strong security measures in place to ensure the safety of both our patrons and performing artists while attending and performing shows at the Knitting Factory,” Marchant said in the statement.