December 12, 2009 in News

Crazy Friday night keeps police busy

By The Spokesman-Review

Friday night proved to be a busy one for Spokane police, as officers responded to three armed robbery calls, three shootings, six multiple-person fights, eight assaults, five collisions and seven driving under the influence arrests, and about 150 additional calls for help.

The rash of calls happened between 8 p.m. Friday and 4:45 a.m. Saturday.

“For cold weather, it’s kind of surprising,” said Officer Glenn Bartlett. “I can’t give you rhyme or reason; sometimes everything happens all at once.”

Bartlett said graveyard patrol officers were swamped with calls, as they ran from one to another.

The chaos started around 7 p.m., when a homeowner on the lower South Hill fired two shots at a would-be burglar.

The 85-year-old resident was asleep when he heard a burglar who entered the house in the 2100 block of East 35th Avenue by jimmying a locked door. The homeowner surprised the burglar in the hallway, and shot at him twice with a handgun.

The burglar fled and is still at large, police said. He was described as white, 6-foot tall with a thin build.

Three hours later officers responded to the report of an armed robbery at a northeast Spokane convenience store.

A suspect entered Empire Foods at 5434 N. Nevada St., at 10 p.m. and pointed a shotgun at the store clerk, demanded cash and a carton of cigarettes.

The clerk handed over the items, and the suspect fled on foot, police said. Officers used a K-9 to track the suspect, but didn’t find him.

The robber was described as 6 feet tall, with a medium build, wearing all dark clothing and a mask and hooded jacket covering his head and face.

The mayhem continued, with the 1:30 a.m. pursuit and arrest of another first-degree robbery suspect, also in northeast Spokane.

Officers responded to a robbery report in the 900 block of East Sitka Avenue, after a victim said a white man approached him on foot, and demanded money. The suspect said he had a gun, and acted like he had one in his hand, police said.

The suspect’s face was covered with a white bandana, and his head was covered with a black hooded jacket. The victim ran away and hid in an apartment complex, police said.

A short time later, officers were called to an attempted robbery at the Albertson’s store, 6520 N. Nevada St., just south of the first attempted robbery.

Witnesses said the suspect fled on foot southbound on Nevada toward Francis, where he was spotted by officers. The suspect, later identified as Cody Allen Gronau, 20, ran across Francis to the south — losing his shoes in the process — and hid in a residential neighborhood, police said.

The pursuit ended with a K-9 apprehending Gronau on the 700 block of East Dalke Avenue.

He was taken to the hospital for minor injuries sustained during the chase, and then booked into the Spokane County Jail on charges of first-degree robbery and obstructing an officer, police said.

Police officials said the night ended with more than 175 calls for service.

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