A shooting at an educational program for at-risk youth in Des Moines, Iowa, left two students dead and the program’s founder seriously injured, authorities said.
At 12:53 pm Monday, police and fire personnel responded to a report of a shooting at 455 SW 5th Street, where the non-profit called Starts Right Here is located, Des Moines police told a statement.
They found the shooting victims, who were taken to hospitals. The names of those killed have not been released.
Police did not identify the injured but Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie said it was Starts Right Here program president and R&B hip hop artist Will Holmes, also known as “Will Keeps.” Police said he was in serious condition.
Police got a description of a vehicle related to the shooting and made a traffic stop about 20 minutes after the shooting, two miles away, said Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said at a news conference.
Two people stayed in the vehicle and one got out and ran, Parizek said. Police found the suspect with a tracking dog, he said.
Parizek did not identify the suspects or say whether they have been charged.
“We have two people dead, so we are looking at the most serious cases,” he said.
Police have not yet released a motive.
“The incident was definitely targeted,” Parizek said. “It’s not random. There is nothing random about it. This was definitely a targeted incident. But as far as getting a motive, that’s something we’re going to try to figure out.”
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, SRH President, performs empowering songs to inspire and speak truth.”
Keeps is a rapper who grew up in Chicago and moved to Des Moines.
“I want to take a moment and address the horrible shooting this afternoon at Starts Right Here, the school program on Southwest 5th St. and it’s run by a friend of the city, Will Keeps, who is recovering tonight in the hospital ,” Cownie said in a video statement.
The mayor called the shooting a “story that repeats itself—the tragic story of young lives taken too soon by gun violence.”
The Des Moines Public Schools website says SRH partners with the school district to help students in the district’s Options Academy credit recovery program and to support students who are no longer in a building. of school. SRH serves 40-50 DMPS students at any given time, the school district said.
Iowa Gov. said. Kim Reynolds, who is listed on the website’s advisory board, said she was “shocked and saddened” about the shooting.
“I was shocked and saddened to hear about the shooting at Starts Right Here. I saw firsthand how hard Will Keeps and his staff work to help at-risk children through this alternative education program. My heart breaks for them, these children and their families. Kevin and I pray for their safe recovery,” Reynolds said in a statement.