Police charge 18-year-old alleged gang member with Des Moines school shooting

Jan. 24 (UPI) — Des Moines Police charged an 18-year-old male in what they believe was a targeted shooting at a charter school that killed two students and seriously injured a staff member.

Preston Walls, 18, of West Moines, Iowa, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of criminal gang participation.

The Starts Right Here Charter School is a nonprofit that focuses on at-risk children. It was not clear what relation Walls had with the school, but authorities said they believe the shooting was targeted.

Two others who were in the getaway vehicle with Walls, remained in custody Tuesday.

The charter school, started by local activists and rapper Will Holmes, also known by Will Keeps, has operated in partnership with Des Moines Public Schools since 2001.

Holmes was identified as the third person shot in the incident. He underwent surgery Monday and remains in serious condition.

Police said after the shooting, Walls tried to escape with two others and was tracked down by police after he left the escape vehicle and ran on foot.

Des Moines Police said Holmes was attempting to escort Walls, who was armed with a 9mm handgun with an extended ammunition magazine, out of the downtown school building when he started to shoot at the teenagers.

Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Parizek said that Walls and the two teenage victims were known by authorities to be gang members and participating in rival groups. He said a preliminary investigation suggest that the shooting was the result of an ongoing gang dispute.

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