Court Avenue shooting grabs the attention of community leaders

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DES MOINES, Iowa – Three people were injured in a shooting on 3rd Street and Court Avenue early Sunday morning.

The Des Moines Police Department already had officers on the scene responding to a fight that broke out around closing time for bars in the district. The police do not have any leads on the cause of the fight or the shooting at this time.

“All three of them are non-life-threatening injuries and our detectives are investigating now,” said Sgt. Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department.

Just a couple of weeks ago there was another incident around the same area on Court Avenue where an individual was arrested which led to police being surrounded by a large group of people. Both of these occurrences have taken place where the Court Avenue “entertainment zone” was over the summer. The zone had beefed up security to curb violence over the warmer months; it was also funded by Polk County and the City of Des Moines over that entire span.

The zone ended on September 18 and the majority of business owners in the area wanted the zone around until at least Halloween weekend.

“I am beyond frustrated at this point because we seem to not be doing anything,” said Tom Zmolek, the president of the Historic Court District. “This was our fourth week of not having our fencing up and doing the whole zone. It has kind of escalated every week.”

According to the Polk County Board of Supervisors, the County was willing to put forward dollars to keep the entertainment zone running longer.

“While Polk County is interested in continuing the entertainment zone we will do whatever we can to support the efforts of the City of Des Moines and the Des Moines Police Department,” said Jon Cahill, the Community Relations Specialist with the board. “The County continues to have conversations with community partners to address this issue.”

The Des Moines City Council will be looking at funding the entertainment zone again for next summer, even though the issue is still prevalent.

“We need to meet with the county, get businesses and everybody together to discuss this. We will be working with everyone involved to make sure the area is safe,” said Councilwoman Connie Boesen.

Parizek mentioned that this shooting highlights there needs to be a solution to the problem besides throwing police officers at it over and over again.

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