2 men injured in overnight shooting outside Court Avenue entertainment zone

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Two bystanders were shot when a person opened fire outside the Court Avenue entertainment zone overnight.

The shooting happened around 12:30 a.m. Sunday in the 100 block of 3rd Street, according to Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek. Police officers in the area heard gunfire and found two men suffering from minor gunshot wounds. Parizek said both men were treated at a local hospital and released, and neither were the intended target of the shooting.

“Evidence indicates the suspect had been involved in an altercation somewhere inside the entertainment zone, left and appears to have retrieved a gun [and] returned to continue the dispute outside the entertainment zone,” Parizek said.

The suspect fired the weapon but missed the intended target and struck the two victims. Police haven’t made an arrest in the case.

The entertainment zone is a two-block area of Court Avenue surrounding 3rd Street that is fenced off to traffic on Friday and Saturday nights. It opened on May 21 with the goal of improving safety in the Court Avenue District after multiple shootings in the area in April. Visitors must pass through a security screening in order to enter the entertainment zone.

In the first four months of 2021, police calls to the Court Avenue area were up 5%. That included a sharp increase in the number of fights, shootings and reports of a “person down,” according to the Des Moines Police Department.

“It was the right timing with the shootings we had a few weeks ago,” Court Avenue Association chair Tom Zmolek told WHO 13 in May. “Summer is always a crazier time down here.”

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