Two students were killed and a teacher wounded in a “targeted” shooting an Iowa school for at-risk kids, authorities said.
The deadly shooting took place at the educational program Starts Right Here, which was founded by a local rapper and is connected to the Des Moines school system.
Police said first responders rushed to the school, which is in a business park in the city’s downtown, just before 1 p.m. and found two students critically injured. Life-saving measures were taken at the scene, but the two students were later pronounced dead at the hospital, police said.
Des Moines police said that “multiple suspects” were in custody after cops pulled over a car about two miles from the scene and 20 minutes after the shooting.
“The incident was definitely targeted. It was not random. There was nothing random about this,” Sgt. Paul Parizek said.
Starts Right Here involves working with “urban youth who have been touched with real-life challenges,” according to the program’s website. The program was founded by rapper Will Holmes, whose stage name is Will Keeps.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who is on the Starts Right Here advisory board, said she was heartbroken by 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, who works near the school, witnessed someone fleeing from the building with police officers giving chase on foot and in patrol cars. Her office was placed on lockdown during the scary moment.
“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.”