At a Des Moines charter school for at-risk children, two students were killed on Monday in what authorities believe in having been a gang-related shooting. In the attack, the facility’s creator was also shot and hurt. The police announced Monday night that an 18-year-old suspect had been taken into custody.
The incident happened at Starts Right Here, connected to the Des Moines school system.
16 and 18-year-old victims, according to the police, were killed. William Holmes, also known as Will Keeps, the founder and CEO of Starts Right Here, was revealed to be the injured person. He is 49 years old. The police reported that he is still hospitalized and in critical condition.
Preston Walls, an 18-year-old suspect, was detained, according to the Des Moines Police Department. He faces two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder, and charges of involvement in a criminal group.
“The incident was undoubtedly intended. It was not accidental. Nothing about this was random, “According to Sgt. Paul Parizek.
Just before one o’clock in the afternoon, emergency personnel was requested to the school, which is located in a business park. Two students were found to be gravely injured when officers arrived, and they immediately began CPR. Two students passed away in a hospital.
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Walls entered the school’s standard room where Holmes and the two children were, according to a news release from the police. Walls allegedly pulled out a 9mm handgun with an extended magazine when Holmes attempted to accompany him away and started shooting at the two young victims. According to authorities, Walls struck Holmes as well before fleeing.
When patrolling policemen from Des Moines spotted a “strange vehicle” leaving the scene of the incident, they stopped it. Walls, who was inside, escaped but was quickly found and peacefully put into jail. The 9mm handgun, according to police, was discovered nearby. According to the authorities, the handgun’s extended magazine had a 31-round capacity but only held three shots.
Police claim that Walls ripped off the GPS ankle monitor he was supposed to be wearing as part of a supervised pre-trial release around 16 minutes before the shooting.
According to the police statement, “Walls and both deceased victims are known gang members who belonged to rival gangs, and evidence indicates that these crimes were perpetrated as a result of an ongoing gang disagreement.”
According to the police, two other people have been detained in connection with the investigation. Chuck Grassley, a senator from Iowa, tweeted that he was keeping an eye on the situation and “pray for all those involved.”
The Starts Right Here initiative was started by rapper Will Keeps, whose real name is Holmes, to assist at-risk adolescents in grades 9–12.
According to Parizek, “the school is designed to pick up the slack and assist the children who need assistance the most.”
According to the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the area’s economic and community development group, Keeps moved to Des Moines from Chicago approximately 20 years ago after having “lived in a world of gangs and violence” before discovering healing via music.
According to the alliance, the campaign “Starts Right Here” “aims to inspire and inform young people living in underprivileged and oppressive conditions via initiatives in the arts, entertainment, music, hip hop, and other genres.
Additionally, it imparts financial literacy and aids in job interview preparation and communication skills development. The ultimate objective is to remove obstacles caused by intimidation, fear, and other negative elements that might make people feel abandoned, forgotten, or rejected.”
According to the school’s website, 28 people have graduated since it opened, and 70% of its students are minorities. According to the school system, the programme reportedly serves 40 to 50 pupils at a time.
BREAKING: Two students killed in shooting at Iowa school for at-risk kids, ‘multiple suspects’ confirmed in custody. pic.twitter.com/o1fyJs70Mk
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) January 23, 2023
A district statement reads, “We are horrified to hear of yet another case of gun violence, particularly when it involves a group that has close ties to some of our students. While we wait for additional information, our sympathies are with any victims of this atrocity and their loved ones and friends.”
Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Starts Right Here’s advisory board member, expressed her shock and sadness after the shooting.
Reynolds stated, “I’ve witnessed first-hand how hard Will Keeps and his colleagues work to help at-risk youngsters through this alternative education programme. “These children, along with their families, make my heart ache. Kevin and I are hoping for a speedy recovery for them.” Keep an eye on us for more information like this, The Express.