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BREAKING NEWS: Two students are shot dead at school in Iowa: Cops say ‘multiple’ suspects are in custody

  • The shooting took place at Starts Right Here, a Des Moines education center that specializes in at-risk high school-age youth
  • Cops said the shooting appeared to be a targeted attack on the victims, who have not yet been named: three suspects have been apprehended
  • A third student was wounded and is said to be in critical condition at the hospital 

A shooting at an Iowa school for at-risk youth has left two students dead and one staff member wounded. 

The students were shot around 1pm on Monday at Starts Right Here, an education mentorship program founded by local activist and rapper Will Keeps, located in downtown Des Moines.

Sgt. Paul Parizek, a spokesman for Des Moines police, said an adult employee at the nonprofit was wounded and was in serious condition.  

The two casualties were found alive, but later died in hospital.

Officers said the victims were targeted and that ‘there was nothing random’ about the attack. 

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The victims ages have not been released, but the school focuses on high school-aged students who are no longer in a school building due to behavioral issues.

Emergency services transport one of the people shot at the Starts Right Here school

Emergency services transport one of the people shot at the Starts Right Here school

A swarm of police cars on scene outside the Starts Right Here in Des Moines on Monday

A swarm of police cars on scene outside the Starts Right Here in Des Moines on Monday

A car matching witness descriptions was stopped by police at about 1:20pm two miles from the school. Three suspects were apprehended after one tried to flee from the car.

A witness who works next door to Starts Right Here said she saw somebody running from the building after the shooting while police pursued them.

‘We just saw a lot of cop cars pouring in from everywhere,’ witness Nicole Krantz told 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,’ Krantz said. 

Kim Reynolds, the governor of Iowa, who is on the school advisory board, said she was devastated by the shooting and praised the school president, Will Keeps.

‘I am shocked and saddened to hear about the shooting at Starts Right Here,’ she wrote in a statement. 

‘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.’

Des Moines Public Schools also released a statement. 

‘We are saddened to learn of another act of gun violence, especially one that impacts an organization that works closely with some of our students. 

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‘We are still waiting to learn more details, but our thoughts are with any victims of this incident and their families and friends. 

‘Starts Right Here is a valuable partner to DMPS, doing important work to help us re-engage students, and we stand by to support them during this critical time.’

Mike Beranek, president of Iowa State Education Association, called for more effective prevention of gun violence in educational settings.

‘Tragedy has once again struck close to home. Our hearts go out to the victims, families, and school community at Starts Right Here as they endure the unthinkable,’ Beranek said in a statement. 

‘We implore our elected leaders to consider effective strategies to eliminate gun violence and pursue concrete solutions that will keep our students, educators, and communities safe. 

‘Our schools need to be bastions of safety, not the recipients of violence. 

‘This needs to end. 

‘As a nation we need to recognize this is societal issue seeping into our schools.’

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