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Iowa police name 2 shooting victims

by SCOTT McFETRIDGE and HEATHER HOLLINSWORTH The Associated Press | January 25, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Des Moines Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Parizek speaks outside the Starts Right Here building, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. Police say two students were killed and a teacher was injured in a shooting at the Des Moines school on the edge of the city's downtown. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

DES MOINES, Iowa -- An 18-year-old who police say was involved in an ongoing gang dispute walked into the common area of an alternative education program for at-risk students and fatally shot two teenagers in a premeditated attack, according to a charging document released Tuesday.

Police said the shooting Monday also left the founder of the Starts Right Here program with life-threatening injuries in the targeted attack. William Holmes, 49, underwent surgery and was in serious condition.

On Tuesday, police identified those killed as Gionni Dameron, 18, and Rashad Carr, 16.

Holmes, an activist and rapper who goes by the stage name Will Keeps, joined a gang as a 13-year-old in Chicago but moved to Iowa more than two decades ago and dedicated his life to helping young people in need, according to his LinkedIn page.

Preston Walls, 18, of Des Moines was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count each of attempted murder and criminal gang participation. He made a brief court appearance Tuesday and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Feb. 3.

Walls is jailed on $1 million bond. The Polk County public defender's office, which will provide his attorney, declined comment.

Walls was on supervised release for a weapons charge and he cut off his ankle monitor 16 minutes before the shooting, police said.

"There was nothing random about this," police Sgt. Paul Parizek said.

Investigators say in the charging document that Walls had a 9mm semiautomatic handgun with a high-capacity extended magazine concealed on him when he entered a common area. The affidavit said Holmes tried to escort Walls out, but Walls pulled away, drew the gun and shot the two teenagers several times.

The document said one victim tried to flee, but Walls chased him down "and shot him multiple more times." The document blacked out the name of the victim except the first letter of the last name, "C," indicating it was Carr.

Holmes' family said in a statement Tuesday that he "has a long recovery ahead and we are deeply appreciative for the care he is receiving."

Despite his injuries, Holmes is "now more determined than ever to continue with his work with at-risk youths," they wrote.

Responding officers saw a suspicious vehicle leaving the area and stopped it. Police said Walls ran but was found hiding in a brush pile with the 9mm handgun next to him.

According to the affidavit, the shooting was captured on surveillance video, and Walls' clothing and his Glock firearm matched those seen on the video.

The Starts Right Here board of directors said in a statement that classes were canceled for the remainder of the week and grief counselors will be available.

Despite the police claim that the shooting was gang-related, Gary Dameron said his son was not involved in a gang, describing him as "family-oriented" and "goofy.

Dameron said his son and Carr were best friends. He described Carr as "very respectable," cool and soft-spoken.

Information for this article was contributed by Trisha Ahmed, Jim Salter and Josh Funk of The Associated Press.

  photo  Des Moines Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Parizek speaks outside the Starts Right Here building, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. Police say two students were killed and a teacher was injured in a shooting at the Des Moines school on the edge of the city's downtown. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
 
 
  photo  A law enforcement officer walks outside the Starts Right Here building, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. Police say two students were killed and a teacher was injured in a shooting at the Des Moines school on the edge of the city's downtown. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
 
 
  photo  A law enforcement officer exits the Starts Right Here building, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. Police say two students were killed and a teacher was injured in a shooting at the Des Moines school on the edge of the city's downtown. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
 
 
  photo  Law enforcement officers enter the Starts Right Here building, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. Police say two students were killed and a teacher was injured in a shooting at the Des Moines school on the edge of the city's downtown. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
 
 
  photo  Will Holmes, a rapper who goes by the stage name Will Keeps, founder of Starts Right Here, stands for a photo at his organization in Des Moines, Iowa, Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Two teenage students were killed and a man was seriously injured in what police called a targeted shooting at the alternative educational program for at-risk youth in Des Moines. (Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Des Moines Register via AP)
 
 
  photo  Law enforcement officers stand outside a school housing an educational program called Starts Right Here that is affiliated with the Des Moines school district, following a shooting Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. Police say two students were killed, and an adult employee was seriously injured in the shooting at the school dedicated to helping at-risk youth. (Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Des Moines Register via AP)
 
 
  photo  This booking photo provided by the Polk County, Iowa, Jail shows Preston Walls of Des Moines, Iowa. Walls, the 18-year-old who police say was involved in an ongoing gang dispute, walked into the common area of an alternative education program for at-risk students on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, and fatally shot two teenagers in a premeditated attack, according to a charging document released Tuesday, Jan. 24. Walls was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of criminal gang participation. (Polk County Jail via AP)
 
 

Print Headline: Iowa police name 2 shooting victims

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