Murders Total 19, Tying For Most In A Year


Nineteen people have been killed so far this year, a body count that ties the record for murders in the city of Spokane with still two months left in the year.

The last time so many homicides occurred here was in 1983. Since then, the city’s averaged 12 murders each year.

Last year, there were seven.

Police said it’s difficult to explain the big violence explosion, but blame much of it on drugs and gangs.

“It fluctuates from year to year but you can see certain constants,” Capt. Roger Bragdon said. “Those are two.”

Tuesday’s shooting that left a young couple dead was the third double-murder this year.

The first occurred in July, when a Vietnamese couple was shot execution-style in their North Side apartment.

A month later, two teenage girls were shot as they sat on a friend’s front porch in Hillyard.

At the rate bodies are piling up, police believe the murder record will easily be broken in 1995.

“It has not been a good year,” police spokesman Dick Cottam said.

Two toddlers were killed this year, both by their mother’s boyfriends.

A third young victim was Rachel Carver, the 9-year-old whose body was found near the Spokane River. Police later arrested her uncle, Jason Wickenhagen, on charges of killing her and dumping her body in a cardboard box.

All but three of the year’s killings have been solved. Police never arrested suspects in connection to the murders of the Vietnamese couple or a woman found beaten and strangled in her bathroom in April.

Detectives are trying to find at least four people who burst into an apartment early Tuesday and opened fire. A woman and her boyfriend, Ronnie Armstead, were killed.

, DataTimes

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