A Monday shooting at a charter school in Des Moines, Iowa, left two students dead and one in critical condition.
The shooting erupted at the non-profit called Starts Right Here, an organization intended for disadvantaged youth. Police spokesman Des Moines police Sgt. Paul Parizek said officials arrived after 12:53 p.m. and found three victims with gunshot wounds inside the building.
Officials conducted CPR on the two wounded students and immediately transported them to the hospital where they were pronounced dead, Parizek said. An adult, whose role at the nonprofit is currently unknown, is in serious condition at the hospital.
The ages of the students are currently unknown, the spokesman added.
Witnesses gave police a description of the vehicle that fled the scene following the shooting. Officers successfully located it and confronted three individuals inside, Parizek said. Police and a K-9 unit chased and captured one of the suspects, who attempted to flee after the officers stopped the vehicle. The officers arrested and took all three into custody.
Parizek said the shooting is the eighth homicide in Des Moines in the last two months and suggested it was intentional. He encouraged the community to address the causes behind the growing violence.
“The incident was definitely targeted. It was not random,” Parizek said. “There’s nothing random about this. It was certainly a targeted incident. But as far as motive, that is something we’re gonna try and figure out but half the time we’re kinda all left wondering. And even if we did find the motive, it’s not gonna make any sense to anybody.”
The Des Moines area has experienced a wave of violence, including at least 10 homicides since early December, the Des Moines Register reported. (RELATED: Suspect In Monterey Park Shooting Dead By Suicide)
Local and federal politicians from Iowa immediately grieved the fatal shooting.
“I’m saddened to hear of the shooting at Starts Right Here in Des Moines. I‘ve seen the positive impact Will Keeps and his staff have on young Iowans. Keeping all those impacted in my prayers,” Republican Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst said.
Starts Right Here, founded by rapper and activist Will Holmes, is a non-profit to help at-risk youth “make positive life choices” through music, education, sports and other positive pursuits, its website read.
“We need the help of a community that owes it to our children to create a world where they don’t have to grow up as Will did. It’s on our community to maintain that world for future generations to come and support change-makers like Will,” the website reads. “At the end of the day, you can tell when someone has a good heart and is doing things for the right reasons. Helping our youth is Will Keeps’ purpose and legacy, and it Starts Right Here with all of us together.”
The Des Moines incident follows another shooting in Monterey Park, California during Lunar New Year celebrations. The incident left at least 11 dead and 9 people injured.
This is a developing story.