Community members fear for their safety after Saturday’s deadly road rage shooting

SPOKANE, Wash. — A woman lost her life on Saturday after getting in a road rage incident in North Spokane. Now, people who live and work nearby are concerned about their safety and say the area is changing.

Erika Kienas, 33, was pronounced dead near Francis and Addison early Saturday afternoon. Richard Hough is the alleged shooter and appeared in court on Monday. Hough pleaded not guilty and said he was acting in self defense, saying he thought he saw Kienas saw reaching for a knife. Police never located a knife on her body.

Yolanda Lozada works right across the street at Maaco Auto Body Shop and said she sees road rage incidents often at the intersection. She is devastated someone lost their life but is not surprised.

“Really bad at this intersection. People are always fighting and arguing with each other, honking nonstop,” Lozada said.

A few blocks away is Bliss Coffee Co. Janna Nicholson and Hallie Evans were working when the shooting took place. Nicholson said someone ran up to their window and told them a woman had been shot in the road, so they called 9-1-1. Now, the baristas are concerned about coming to work.

“Almost every day. People are constantly racing down this road, cutting people,” said Evans.

“People drive over the median all the time and it stresses me out,” said Nicholson.

Officer John O’Brien with the Spokane Police Department said this is the first road rage incident he can remember that escalated to a deadly shooting. He is encouraging drivers to slow down and not engage with frustrated drivers.

“People don’t need to stop their cars and engage each other. Just continue driving to your location and don’t let it consumer you,” O’Brien said.

As more people hit the road for summer travels, O’Brien said to give yourself more time to get where you’re going and allow enough space between you and other drivers.

People who work nearby have learned to deal with the crazy incidents but feel like the area has changed recently which makes them concerned about their family’s safety. Lozada has children who are still in school, and she doesn’t let them leave the house anymore. As a parent, she’s concerned for her family’s safety.

“Anybody who grew up here is realizing that it is changing,” Lozada said. “This is not what needs to be happening. We need to keep Spokane a small community that is willing to help each other and not fight each other like it’s been.”

A memorial has been set up at the intersection to remember Kienas. Hough’s bond is set at $750,000 and is set to appear in Superior Court.

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