Des Moines, Iowa shooting: Suspect arrested after 2 Starts Right Here students killed, education program founder in serious condition, police say


A man has been arrested and charged with first degree murder after shooting at an education program for at-risk youth in Des Moines, Iowa, killing two students and seriously injuring the program’s founder, authorities said in a news release.

Des Moines police said in a news release At 12:53 p.m. Monday, police and firefighters responded to a report of a shooting at 455 SW 5th Street, which houses the nonprofit, Starts Right Here, in a news release.

They found shooting victims who were taken to hospitals. The names of the dead were not disclosed.

Preston Walls, 18, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, and participation in a criminal gang, police said in an updated statement.

The updated statement reads, “The walls and the deceased victims are both known members of gangs belonging to opposing gangs, and the evidence indicates that these crimes were committed as a result of an ongoing gang feud.” Des Moines police did not provide any other details identifying these allegations.

Police said Walls disconnected the court-ordered GPS ankle monitor about 16 minutes before the shooting.

CNN was unable to determine whether Walls engaged legal counsel at this time.

Police did not identify the injured person, but Des Moines Mayor Frank Cooney said he was the head of Starts Right Here, and R&B hip-hop artist Will Holmes, also known as “Will Keeps.” Police said his condition was serious.

The shooting occurred after the suspect, who was carrying a 9mm handgun and an extended magazine of ammunition, entered a common area where the three victims were found, the police statement said.

Holmes “tried to escort Walls out of the area. Walls turned away from Holmes, drew a revolver and began shooting at the two teenage victims. Holmes was standing nearby and was also shot. Walls then fled the scene on foot,” according to the press release.

Police obtained a description of a vehicle related to the shooting and traffic stopped about 20 minutes after the shooting, about two miles away, Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said at a news conference.

Parizek said two people stayed in the car and another got out and ran. He said the police found the suspect with a tracking dog.

Police say they found a 9mm handgun nearby. According to the press release, “The ammunition magazine in the pistol has a capacity of 31 rounds, and it contains three rounds.”

Two other people remain in custody while the police investigate the incident.

Des Moines, Iowa.  Police gathered at the scene of the shooting on January 23, 2034.

According to the Starts Right Here website, “Starts Right Here (SRH) is busy inspiring at-risk youth in Des Moines Public Schools and motivating youth through speaking events. Will Keeps, President of SRH, performs empowering songs to inspire and tell the truth.”

Keeps is a rapper who grew up in Chicago and moved to Des Moines.

“I want to take a moment and talk about the horrific shooting this afternoon at Starts Right Here, the school program at Southwest 5th St. that is run by a friend of the city, Will Keeps, who is recovering tonight in the hospital,” Cooney said in a video statement.

The mayor described the shooting as “a story that repeats itself – the tragic story of young lives soon decimated by gun violence.”

The Des Moines Public Schools website says SRH partners with the school district to assist students in the district’s Options Academy credit recovery program and to support students who are no longer in the school building. SRH serves 40-50 DMPS students at any given time, the school district said.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who is on the site’s advisory board, said she was “shocked and saddened” about the shooting.

“I am shocked and saddened to hear about the Starts Right Here shooting. I have seen firsthand how hard Will Keeps and his staff have worked to help vulnerable children through this alternative education program. My heart goes out to them, these children and their families. Kevin and I are praying,” Reynolds said in a statement. for their safe recovery.”

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