According to WHO-TV, an 18-year-old man has been arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder, and one count of criminal gang participation for allegedly shooting and killing two students at Starts Right Here, a charter school for at-risk youth in Des Moines. The founder of the school and a well-known activist, Will Keeps, was identified as the injured employee.
The victims are reportedly 18 and 16 years old.
Sgt. Paul Parizek identified the suspect as Preston Walls and said he was out on pre-trial release ahead of a trial regarding weapons charges. Walls allegedly cut off his ankle monitor 16 minutes before the shooting.
Investigators believe the shooting is gang-related and that the two teen victims are members of a rival gang.
DES MOINES, Iowa (TCD) -- Three people were arrested after a shooting at a school focusing on at-risk youth left two students dead and one teacher injured.
On Monday, Jan. 23, Des Moines Police tweeted that officers and fire department officials were on the scene of a shooting at 455 SW 5th Street with three people injured, including two critically. The two victims who were critically wounded passed away at the hospital, according to police.
Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek told WOI-TV the third victim is an "employee of the school" and went into surgery.
The shooting occurred at the charter school Starts Right Here. According to their website, Starts Right Here "is a program designed to serve youth in a supportive, empowering environment. All young people deserve a chance to rise above the circumstances they were born into and to reach their mental, emotional, physical, and economic potential."
In a news release, Des Moines Police said about 20 minutes after the shooting, officers conducted a traffic stop two miles away and took "multiple suspects" into custody.
Parizek saidtwo of the suspects remained in the car, while one person fled. Officers deployed a K-9 and "tracked them down."
All three people are in custody and being interviewed by police.
Parizek said at the press briefing the shooting "was definitely targeted."
He added, "It was not random. There was nothing random about this. It was certainly a targeted incident."