Police Arrest Suspects in Des Moines Skywalk Assaults

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Police have arrested two suspects they say were part of an assault on a couple in the Des Moines skywalk earlier this month.

Eighteen-year-old Jeffrey Smith Jr. has been charged with one count of assault causing injury. A 13-year-old male has been referred to juvenile courts on one count of assault causing injury.

Jeffrey Smith Jr. (WHO-HD)

The alleged assaults happened back on Oct. 12 at 8:57 p.m. A Des Moines man and his girlfriend told police they were walking home that night through the skywalk after an Iowa Wild game at Wells Fargo Arena when they encountered a large group of juveniles near the downtown YMCA.

“They saw a bunch of juveniles gathered in a location and something about what they were doing didn’t seem about right and she simply asked them ‘hey, are you guys OK,’ and for whatever reason that aggravated the group and they ultimately started to attack those two,” Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said.

According to a police report, a witness said a group of about 20 juveniles brutally attacked the man, repeatedly kicking and punching him. Police said he sustained multiple abrasions, swelling and bruising injuries, and the female victim sustained similar injuries. They were both treated and released from the hospital.

“As the police were pulling up, there was a large crowd of juveniles running out of the building onto the streets below, so that’s where we were able to grab some of those folks and tried to figure out whether or not they were involved,” Parizek said.

Police reviewed surveillance recordings and conducted interviews following the incident, which led to the arrests. The case is still under investigation.


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