An 18-year-old man was charged with murder in Monday’s killing of two teenagers at an alternative educational program for at-risk youth in Des Moines.
Police said Preston Walls of Des Moines is charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in the Monday shooting at Starts Right Here. Two teenagers — an 18-year-old male and a 16-year-old male — were killed in the attack.
The program’s founder, 49-year-old William Holmes — a rapper who goes by the stage name Will Keeps — was injured.
Police said Walls was on supervised pre-trial release on a weapons charge and had removed an ankle bracelet 16 minutes before he went to the school with a gun and confronted the two student victims. Police said Walls and the two students all had gang affiliations and were in opposing gangs.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
Police say two students were killed Monday and a teacher was injured in a shooting at a Des Moines school on the edge of the city’s downtown.
The shooting was at an educational program called Starts Right Here that is affiliated with the Des Moines school district.
Police say emergency crews were called to the school, which is in a business park, just before 1 p.m. Officers arrived to find two students critically injured, and they started CPR immediately. The two students died at a hospital. The teacher who was injured is in serious condition and headed into surgery Monday afternoon.
About 20 minutes after the shooting, police said officers stopped a car that matched witnesses’ descriptions about two miles away and took three suspects into custody. Police said one of the suspects ran from the car, but officers using a K-9 were able to track that person down.
“The incident was definitely targeted. It was not random. There was nothing random about this,” Sgt. Paul Parizek said.
The Starts Right Here program, which helps at-risk youth, was founded by Will Holmes, a rapper whose stage name is Will Keeps.
Gov. Kim Reynolds, who serves on an advisory board for Starts Right Here, said she was “shocked and saddened to hear about the shooting.”
“I’ve seen first-hand how hard Will Keeps and his staff works to help at-risk kids through this alternative education program,” Reynolds said in a statement. “My heart breaks for them, these kids and their families. Kevin and I are praying for their safe recovery.”
Nicole Krantz said her office near the school was put on lockdown immediately after the shooting, and she saw someone running from the building with police in pursuit on foot and in patrol cars.
“We just saw a lot of cop cars pouring in from everywhere,” Krantz said to the Des Moines Register. “It’s terrifying. We’re all worried. We went on lockdown, obviously. We were all told to stay away from the windows because we weren’t sure if they caught the guy,”