Two students were fatally shot Monday afternoon at a charter school in Des Moines, Iowa, which is designed for disadvantaged youth and has close ties to law enforcement, authorities said.
The dead were an 18-year-old man and a 16-year-old man, police said. An 18-year-old was arrested and faces two counts of murder. Two others are in custody while the investigation continues, according to police.
The calls for help came in around 12:50 p.m. said Paul Parizek.
Mayor Frank Cownie and police identified the injured adult as Starts Right Here program founder William Holmes, known as Will Keeps, and said he was recovering. Police said he was in serious condition.
“There was nothing random about this. It was certainly a targeted incident,” Parizek said.
Preston Walls, 18, was arrested on two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of criminal gang involvement, police said Monday night.
Walls entered a common area and had a 9mm handgun with an extended magazine, police said.
Keeps was trying to escort Walls out of the area when Walls allegedly walked away and shot the two victims who later died, and Keeps was also shot, police said.
Walls and the victims were members of opposing gangs, and “evidence indicates that these crimes were committed as a result of an ongoing gang dispute,” police said in the Monday night statement.
Witnesses provided a description of a fleeing car, which police tracked down, Parizek said.
The vehicle was stopped more than 2 miles south of the school, police said, and two people immediately surrendered, while a third person, later identified as Walls, fled and was arrested.
The other two people arrested remained in custody Monday while the investigation continued, police said.
cow said monday night who spoke with the relatives of the victims and offered them the support and prayers of the city.
“There is little that can be said to lessen their pain, nothing that can be said to bring them back, to those who were senselessly murdered,” Cownie said.
“Three others are in custody, suspected of these shootings. That brings a total of five families of teens affected by youth gun violence, in a matter of minutes on a Monday afternoon right here in our capital city,” the mayor said.
The Iowa shooting comes as other troubling shooting incidents have broken out across the US.
Eleven people were killed at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California, on Saturday night, and 12 people were shot at a bar in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, early Sunday morning. Seven others were killed Monday in shootings at two day care centers near Half Moon Bay, California.
start right here describes himself as a school for students who “deserve the opportunity to rise above the circumstances into which they were born” and hopes to “provide them with the opportunity to choose a different future.”
des moines Police Chief Dana Wingert He is on the school board of directors.
“These are supposed to be our safe spaces, and this particular school is one that the police department works very closely with,” Parizek said.
“The school is designed to pick up the slack and help the kids who need the help the most, the ones who don’t get the services they need for a variety of different reasons. For it to happen here, it’s going to be a horrible impact on the community.”
After Walls was arrested, a 9mm handgun with a magazine that can hold 31 rounds was found nearby, which contained three, according to police.
The number of rounds fired is still being determined as the scene continues to be processed, Parizek said. Each victim was struck multiple times, he said.
Walls was on pretrial probation on a weapons charge and had severed a court-ordered GPS ankle monitor 16 minutes before the shooting, police said.
Contact numbers for family members could not immediately be found in online records Monday night.