DES MOINES, Iowa – It’s been one year since the shooting outside East High School that took the life of one teenager and seriously injured two others.
Fifteen-year-old Jose David Lopez died and 18-year-old Kemery Ortega and 16-year-old Jessica Lopez suffered serious injuries in the March 7, 2022 shooting.
Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert spoke the day of the shooting last year, saying “We don’t have young lives to spare and when we settle our differences through gun violence, that’s just not who Des Moines is.”
In the year since the shooting outside East High, Des Moines has unfortunately seen another deadly shooting at a place meant for learning. In January, two people were killed and one seriously injured at Starts Right Here, an educational non-profit.
East High shooting survivor Kemery Ortega can’t seem to comprehend how these things keep happening.
“How hasn’t any shooting been enough to stop any other shooting that has occurred? Like why, why is there like, minors being able to get hold of guns? Why are there people able to sell to minors like that? And I don’t, I don’t understand this stuff, but I guess it’s just the way the world works,” said Ortega in a recent interview with WHO 13.
Six teens were initially charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder following the East High shooting. Another four teens were also handed charged, weeks after the shooting.
Of the 10 teens that were charged, three have already been sentenced to prison time. Romeo Perdomo was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to first degree murder. Braulio Hernandez Salas and Kevin Isidro Martinez will both spend the next 20 years behind bars on weapons charges.
Four others have pleaded guilty to varying charges. Manuel Buezo, Daniel Hernandez, and Henry Valladares Amaya pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Gumaro Marquez-Jacobo pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact, person ineligible to carry a dangerous weapon, and providing a pistol to someone under the age of 21. Those four are scheduled to be sentenced on August 24, 2023.
Octavio Lopez is currently scheduled for a bench trial to begin on August 14th.
Nyang Chamdual was 14 at the time of the shooting and Alex Perdomo was 15. They were originally charged as juveniles but in December of 2022, their cases were transferred to adult court. They are both charged with first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder, and two counts of willful injury. They are scheduled to go on trial April 3.