SPOKANE -- Spokane Police were busy over the holiday weekend with shootings, an attack with an axe, and other violent crimes.Two people died, and several others were seriously injured.
These crimes added to an already deadly month making December the most violent month of 2012.
On Dec. 30, officers responded to a deadly shooting near Spofford and Wall. Police said gang member Salvador Rivera-Romero shot a man to death inside a home. The suspect is still on the loose.
On New Year s Eve, police said Shannon Johnson opened fire inside a N. Spokane grocery store killing one man and injuring another. Johnson appeared before a judge on Wednesday for those crimes. Detectives said the three men knew each other and that Johnson decided to settle an argument by shooting the others.
Early New Year s morning, a house party got out of control. Neighbors in the 4200 block of N. Jefferson said a brawl spilled onto the street. An hour later, someone drove by and gunned down a young woman. She was hit twice by bullets and was in upgraded to serious but stable condition Wednesday.
In total, December had seven homicides. There were 14 homicides in all of 2012, and just four homicides in 2011.
Police Chief Frank Straub said his department is dedicated to decreasing those numbers this year.
Any increase in crime is unacceptable whether it s violent crime or property crime. In 2013 we're not going to tolerate the type of activity we saw this past weekend, Straub said.
Spokane Police will make better use of their data to target crime hot spots and repeat offenders, and officers will be tougher on gangs and illegal firearms Straub said.