Des Moines, IA

In the incident in downtown Des Moines, students were killed, and one person was critically injured.

Sherif Saad

This article is currently breaking news and will be updated. Just before 1:00 p.m. on Monday, gunshots at Starts Right Here, a downtown Des Moines educational mentoring program that supports at-risk adolescents, claimed the lives of two students.

The program has received high-profile backing from state and local authorities. A critical condition was reported for an adult employee of the organization, whose function was unknown, according to police spokesman Sgt. Paul Parizek. According to Parizek, authorities conducted CPR on the injured children after discovering them to be in a very severe condition. After being transported, they passed away at a hospital.

Police stopped a car at MacRae Park, roughly 2 miles south of the gunshot site, around 1:20 p.m., based on a witness description. The other two stayed in the vehicle, but one escaped and was located by a K-9 officer in the 1300 block of River Vista Drive, according to Parizek.

He stated that all three had been arrested and were being interrogated. The victims were targeted, he said. He claimed to be unaware of their ages.

Immediately after the incident, Starts Right Here, which is housed in the facility at 455 S.W. Fifth St., was placed on lockdown, according to Nicole Krantz, a coder with MercyOne Des Moines Clinics Administration. She claimed to have seen a person fleeing the structure while being pursued by officers on foot and in patrol vehicles.

"We simply saw a large number of police vehicles streaming in from everywhere," said Krantz. It is terrible. We're all anxious. We went into lockdown.

"We were all instructed to avoid the windows since we didn't know whether they had arrested the man," she said. Due to tension and worry, Krantz said that she would be taking the rest of the day off.

The shootings are the most recent in a string of violent incidents that have rocked the Des Moines region since early December. These incidents include at least 10 homicides, the shooting death of a 16-year-old by Des Moines police after they claimed he pointed a gun at them, and several non-fatal shootings.

Although "there was nothing random" about the shootings on Monday, Parizek said that the precise reason was yet unknown. He remarked, "And the why is the one thing that sometimes we never know until someone gives us the why." It was the ninth murder in the city of Des Moines in the previous two months.

According to a press release from Des Moines Public Schools, the local activist and rapper Will Holmes, better known by his stage name Will Keeps, launched Starts Right Here to assist in re-engaging kids in the district's Options Academy credit recovery program. It said that due to behavioral concerns, the organization aids adolescents who are not currently enrolled in school.

The district provides educational activities, and the group serves 40–50 pupils at a time. The release said Starts Right Here was empty at the time of the shootings, according to a statement from Des Moines Public Schools. Both Gov. Kim Reynolds and Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert serve on advisory boards for Starts Right Here.

The Register was sent to Holmes for comment by Robert Cramer, co-president of an Iowa bridge construction business and member of the advisory board. Holmes could not be contacted right away. In a ceremony at Starts Right Here, Reynolds will sign a law extending charter schools in May 2021.

She expressed her astonishment and sadness at the shooting at Starts Right Here in a statement on Monday. I have personally seen the arduous efforts made by Will Keeps and his team to assist at-risk children via this alternative education program. These children, along with their families, make my heart ache. Kevin and I are asking for God's protection while they heal.

According to a tweet from Republican senator from Iowa Chuck Grassley, authorities are "watching allegations of a gunshot in Des Moines at Starts Right Here charter school."

Thank you to law officers and first responders for acting quickly, he wrote. "Praying for everyone who is impacted." As the interim superintendent of the Des Moines Public Schools, Matt Smith said in a statement, "We are saddened to learn of another act of gun violence, especially one that impacts an organization that works closely with some of our students."

He continued, "Our thoughts are with any victims of this incident and their families and friends." Mike Beranek, president of the Iowa State Education Association, urged more effective gun violence prevention in school settings.

"Tragedy has struck close to home once again. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Starts Right Here school community, families, and victims as they experience the unimaginable. " In a statement, Beranek said: "We kindly request that our elected officials think of practical ways to end gun violence and promote solutions that will keep our children, teachers, and communities safe.

Instead of serving as targets for violence, our schools must be havens of safety. "This has to be over." We must acknowledge as a society that this is a social problem that is affecting our schools.

The Iowa House observed a minute of silence for the victims on Monday at the request of Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst, a Democrat from Windsor Heights, amid a hectic day focused on educational problems.

Just now, a shooting at the educational charity mentoring program Starts Right Here on Southwest Fifth in Des Moines claimed the lives of two kids. We think one adult is in a critical state. "To respect the relatives of those who lost a child today and to recognize and raise Rep.

Ako Abdul-Samad, who is presently working to assist those affected by the tragedy, I would like to ask for a minute of silence," said Konfrst.

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