Chaplains Console Neighbors Hillyard Residents Share Fears With Police
Residents in the bullet-torn North Side neighborhood peeked from their windows Wednesday and watched police string up yellow tape that prevented them from leaving their homes most of the day.
Not that they wanted to go anywhere.
Talk of murder, gang members and high-powered rifles had frightened most of the neighbors, especially elderly folks who live alone.
“I think I should move out of here,” said one woman who didn’t want her name used. “I couldn’t even hear the gunshots last night and now I find out it was like a battlefield out there - practically in my yard.”
Five Spokane police chaplains tried to comfort some of the Hillyard neighbors after Wednesday’s early-morning shooting that left two teenagers dead.
They strolled from door to door, hoping residents would welcome them inside and share their feelings.
“It was great having someone to talk to, not just about what we saw or what we heard but about our feelings on it all,” said Kathy Kight, whose home on East Columbia was hit with three bullets as the gunman drove off.
“Besides the (chaplains) we had other officers checking on us throughout the night, making sure we were OK and didn’t need anything,” Kight said. “They were very nice. It was very comforting.”
Chaplain Bill Goodrick said he hoped his volunteers could show the residents some attention to help relieve some of their fears. A few were convinced more gang members would be back for them, he said.
“Imagine waking up at 1:30 in the morning with gunfire,” Goodrick said. “You live alone, you can’t go back to sleep and you’re nervous. It’s not a nice thing.”
The Rev. Vernon Buckley said most of the neighbors he visited were saddened by the shooting and wondered what was happening in the world.
“Beyond just being scared, they were disappointed and sad that something so tragic happened here,” Buckley said. “They wanted to know why and how and whatnot.”
Pausing, Buckley glanced at his shoes.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have answers for everything.”