A shooting at an at-risk youth training program in Des Moines, Iowa, left two students dead and the program’s founder critically injured, authorities said.
At 12:53 p.m. Monday, Police and firefighters responded to a report of a shooting at 455 SW 5th Street, where the nonprofit Starts Right Here is located, Des Moines police said in a news release.
They found the people who were shot, who were taken to the hospital. The names of the victims have not been released.
Police did not identify the victim, but Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie said he was Starts Right Here president and R&B hip hop artist Will Holmes, also known as “Will Keeps.” Police say they are in serious trouble.
Police reported a vehicle related to the shooting and stopped traffic about 20 minutes after the shooting, two miles away, Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said at a press conference.
Two people remained in the car and one got out and ran, Parizek said. Police found the suspect with a tracking dog, he said.
Parizek did not name the suspects or say if they have been charged.
“We have killed two people, so we are looking for more serious cases,” he said.
A motive has not yet been released by police.
“The scene just looked,” Parizek said. “It was not random. There is nothing random about this. It was definitely a straightforward event. But when it comes to finding a goal, that’s something we’re going to try to find. ”
According to Starts Right Here’s website, “Start Right Here (SRH) is busy empowering at-risk youth in Des Moines Public Schools and empowering youth through speaking engagements. Will Keeps, President of SRH, performs empowering music to inspire and speak the truth.”
Keeps is a rapper who grew up in Chicago and moved to Des Moines.
“I want to take a moment to talk about this evening’s deadly shooting at Starts Right Here, a school program on Southwest 5th St. and run by a friend of the city, Will Keeps, who is recovering tonight in the hospital,” Cownie said in a video.
The mayor called the shooting “a story that repeats itself — a tragic story of young lives taken recently by gun violence.”
The Des Moines Public Schools website says SRH works with the school district to help students in the district’s Options Academy loan repayment program and to help out-of-school students. SRH serves 40-50 DMPS students at any given time, the school district said.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who is listed on the website’s advisory board, said she was “shocked and saddened” by the shooting.
“I am shocked and saddened to hear about the shooting at Starts Right Here. I have seen firsthand how hard Will Keeps and his staff work to help at-risk children through an alternative education program. My heart breaks for them, these children and their families. I am Kevin we are praying for a speedy recovery,” Reynolds said in a statement.