A man has been arrested and charged with murder following a shooting that left two students dead at an educational program for at-risk youth in Des Moines, Iowa, the program’s founder, authorities said in a release. Seriously injured.
Des Moines police said in a news release that police and firefighters responded to reports of a shooting at 455 SW 5th Street at 12:53 p.m. Start here.”
They located the shooting victims and they were taken to the hospital. The names of the victims were not released.
Preston Walls, 18, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and participation in a criminal association, police said in their latest statement.
“Walles and the two deceased individuals were known gang members who belonged to rival gangs, and the evidence suggests that these crimes were the result of ongoing gang disputes,” the updated release said. Des Moines police did not provide additional details outlining those claims.
Police said Walls switched off the court-ordered GPS ankle monitor about 16 minutes before the shooting.
CNN could not confirm at this time whether Walls has hired legal counsel.
Police have not identified the injured person, but Des Moines Mayor Frank Coney said the injured person is “Start Here” project president and R&B hip-hop artist Will Holmes, also known as “Will Keeps.” Police said he was in serious condition.
The shooting occurred after the suspect, who was armed with a 9mm pistol and an extended magazine, “entered the common area where all three victims were located,” the police statement said.
Holmes “attempted to escort Walls out of the area. Walls pulled away from Holmes, drew his pistol and began shooting at the two teenage victims. Holmes, who was standing nearby, was also shot. Wall then fled the scene on foot, ’ said the press release.
Police were given a description of the vehicle involved in the shooting and stopped traffic about 20 minutes after the shooting, police Sgt. Paul Parizek said at a news conference.
Parizek said two people remained in the vehicle and one got out and fled. Police found the suspect with a tracking dog, he said.
Police said they found a 9mm pistol nearby. “The magazine in the pistol has a capacity of 31 rounds and contains three rounds,” the release said.
Police are investigating the incident and two others remain in custody.
According to the Starts Right Here website, “Starts Right Here (SRH) is busy motivating at-risk youth in Des Moines Public Schools and motivating youth through speaking engagements. SRH President Will Keeps sings inspirational songs to inspire and speak the truth .”
Keeps is a rapper who grew up in Chicago before moving to Des Moines.
“I want to take a moment to talk about the horrific shooting this afternoon at the school project Starts Right Here on Southwest 5th Street. It’s run by a friend from the city, Will Keeps, who is recovering in the hospital tonight,” Coney said in a video said the statement.
The mayor called the shooting a “recurring story – a tragic story of young people’s lives taken by gun violence.”
According to the Des Moines Public Schools website, SRH works with the district to help students in the district’s Options Academy credit recovery program and to support students who are no longer on the premises. The district says SRH serves 40-50 DMPS students at any given time.
Kim Reynolds, who is listed on the Iowa governor’s website advisory board, said she was “shocked and saddened” by the shooting.
“I am shocked and saddened to hear of the shooting at Starts Right Here. I have seen firsthand how Will Keeps and his staff are working hard to help at-risk children through this alternative education program. My hearts go out to them, these children and their families Heartbroken. Kevin and I are praying for their safe recovery,” Reynolds said in a statement.