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One of the most popular concert venues in Washington has been forced to close their doors immediately. Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub held a press conference announcing that the Knitting Factory in downtown Spokane must shut down after a long string of crimes associated with the venue including two gang-related shootings.

Police were called to the Knitting Factory parking lot around 2 a.m. Monday when calls came in about a man being shot. Shortly after, a second, and believed to be related incident, happened in north Spokane. There were two men shot at each scene. All four victims are expected to make full recoveries.

The Knitting Factory was issued a police regulated "live entertainment license" by the City of Spokane. The Spokane Police Department called the emergency suspension of the venue's license, citing life-threatening circumstances and numerous incidents. According to Chief Straub, officers have been called to the concert venue 60 times in the last year including 25 medical calls and 4 shootings.

I want to send a couple of messages. Number one, what we have going on is the same group of people involved in the same type of activities at generally the same location - individuals that are involved in gang activity that are terrorizing neighborhoods and are terrorizing the downtown. I want the community to understand the Spokane Police Department is in no way, shape or form, going to tolerate these incidents. As a matter of fact, as of this morning, I've ordered the Knitting Factory be shut down because it represents a concern to public safety.

We were in the Knitting Factory only a few weeks ago after another shooting, talking to them about how we can't allow this type of behavior downtown. We're not going to tolerate this kind of behavior in any of our neighborhoods.

The Knitting Factory has 20 days to file a civil appeal with the City of Spokane. If they do, the case will go to a city hearing examiner. Spokane Police and the Knitting Factory would both present their sides, and the examiner would decide whether the venue's license should be reinstated or revoked permanently.

Greg Marchant, Chief Operations Officer for Knitting Factory Entertainment, released a statement via Facebook on Monday night saying:

The actions of a very, very few people—and incidents like this—tarnish by extension the reputations of venues like ours. This Knitting Factory and its predecessors have operated a concert venue at this location for nearly ten years. Over one million patrons have safely enjoyed world-class entertainment at our venue over years of operation.

We made a lot of progress today, and while we believe that these talks will lead to a solution that will prevent the cancellations of any events, we do intend to cancel this coming Friday’s event as a “cooling off” gesture. We feel confident in our security policies at Knitting Factory and wish to continue the dialogue with the community in the hopes of increasing the peace.

You can show your support for the venue by joining the Facebook group Keep The Knitting Factory Open which has quickly gained more than 2,000 members. So far only the performance on this upcoming Friday night has been officially cancelled. The future of other events and what ticket-holders should do remains in question.

[Via KHQ]