2 students dead, employee in serious condition in Des Moines shooting, authorities say

Two students are dead and one employee is in serious condition after a shooting incident at an educational program in Des Moines, Iowa, according to the Des Moines Police Department.

At 12:53 p.m., Police and fire personnel responded to a report of a shooting at 455 SW 5th Street, which houses a non-profit called Starts Right Here, police said in a news release.

They found the injured people, who were taken to hospitals. The ages of the victims and the suspects were not released.

Police got a description of a vehicle related to the shooting and made a traffic stop about 20 minutes after the shooting, two miles away, Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said at a news conference.

Two people stayed in the vehicle and one got out and ran, Parizek said. Police found the suspect with a tracking dog, he said.

Parizek did not identify the suspects or say if they had been charged.

“We’ve got two people dead, so we’re looking at the most serious charges,” he said.

The motive has not yet been released by police.

“The incident was definitely targeted,” he said. “It was not random. There’s nothing random about this. It was certainly a targeted incident. But as far as getting motive, that is something that we are going to try and figure out.”

According to Starts Right Here website, “Starts Right Here (SRH) is busy inspiring at-risk youth in the Des Moines Public Schools and motivating youth through speaking events. Will Keeps, SRH President, performs empowering songs to inspire and speak the truth.”

Keeps is a musician from Des Moines.

The Des Moines Public Schools website says SRS partners with the school district to help students in the district’s Options Academy credit recovery program and to support students who are no longer in a school building. SRS serves 40-50 DMPS students at any given time, the school district said.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who is listed on the website’s advisory board, said she is “shocked and saddened” about the shooting.

“I am shocked and saddened to hear about the shooting at Starts Right Here. I’ve seen first-hand how hard Will Keeps and his staff works to help at-risk kids through this alternative education program. My heart breaks for them, these kids and their families. Kevin and I are praying for their safe recovery,” Reynolds said in a statement.

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