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Leaders, residents discuss violence in the community

The Spokane-area community gathered Saturday morning to discuss the attempted bombing along the Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March on Jan. 17.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and state Rep. Kevin Parker co-hosted the forum, “Understanding Threats in Our Community,” on the Washington State University Spokane campus. Community leaders and residents discussed their concerns about, and possible solutions to, violence in the community.

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner said that although the incident happened in the city, it does not represent Spokane at large.

“It is extremely disconcerting,” she said. “It is not our community. This is not who we are.”

Verner had just returned from the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C., where, she said, several other mayors approached her to express condolences about the incident.

“It’s up to us to talk about who we really are in Spokane and to emphasize that we’re not a community of fear,” Verner said. “We are a unified community.”

Knezovich urged anyone who sees something suspicious to report it.

“There’s no force out there that can beat the power of a community,” he said. “It’s time that we stand up together and make sure that our enemies remember our unity and our willingness to make this the best community that we can possibly make.”

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