URBANDALE, Iowa — One day after two teens fired a gun at Lion’s Park and were arrested on school property police are crediting a caller who gave the department accurate information.
“This all started because of a caller and we are grateful for that caller being able to provide a great description of the youth, staying on the line, providing the direction to travel, all of those things,” said Public Information Officer Holly Pickett with the Urbandale Police Department. “All of those things really played a huge part in us being able to get ahold of them as quickly as what we did.”
One gunshot was heard at around 12:20 pm on Tuesday, and that is when the call came in. One neighbor who lives right by Lion’s Park said he heard the shot, but didn’t know that’s what it was at the time.
“I was in my garage just doing some work and heard a loud noise and it obviously caught my attention,” said Ryan Rathjen. “Came up front and thought it was a big firework. I did see a couple of kids running in the park but never really thought much of it.”
Rathjen said that it wasn’t until later in the evening that he realized it was a gunshot he had heard and then witnessed the two teens run away. He has school kids in the district and became concerned when the district sent an email Tuesday night explaining what had happened.
“Just the concern of, you know, the direction of fire, where that bullet could have landed,” said Rathjen. “It’s just a scary thought. I mean, my house is literally just right across the street from it. I mean just one bad direction it could have came through my window, my neighbor’s windows, you know?”
Rathjen said he is for gun rights, but also gun safety. He said he hopes the two teens learn from what could have been a much worse situation.
The Urbandale police echoed Rathjen in advocating for gun safety.
“It’s a scary situation, anytime guns are in the hands of non-law abiding citizens,” said Pickett. “This definitely highlights ensuring that your weapons are secure at home.”
Pickett said the investigation is ongoing and they’re not sure yet how the teens gained access to the firearm. The two were charged yesterday in the juvenile court system.
The Urbandale Community School District told WHO 13 that the two teens are students and they will face disciplinary action as it relates to the school board policy. It is not known if the two teens were at school that day.