WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — The West Des Moines Police Department is putting together the pieces of a violent night at a carnival in the Valley West Mall parking lot.
“Thankfully no one was hurt by the gunfire or hit by gunfire. It’s, as I say, it’s completely irresponsible. It could have been a really tragic situation really, really quickly,” said Sergeant Jason Bryan with the West Des Moines Police Department.
The police located the firearm they believe was used in the incident last night, although they did not say what type of gun it was. No one was injured by the gunfire, but a minor was hurt in one of the fights and was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Another minor was arrested and charged with assault and interference with police while they were stopping the fight. The department described the people fighting and what age group they were around.
“It was probably teenagers, 15-16 up to 18-19, that kind of age range,” said Bryan.
There are no suspects charged with shooting the gunshots. Police say that the shots were fired into the air, and that it is dangerous when minors get involved with deadly weapons.
“Trying to get these not only illegal guns, but people who are underaged who can’t possess these guns, get them off the street because nothing good comes from it,” said Bryan.
The police did not release any information about potential suspects. Bryan said they are in the process of pinpointing the shooter, going through video from last night, and using descriptions of witnesses.
One witness, who wished to remain anonymous, described the scene after gun shots rang out around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday night.
“It was a total panic, once those shots went off, everyone was panicking and running,” said the witness. “But like I said my attention was mostly focused on him.”
The witness referring to “him” as the minor who was beaten in the fights. She said she tried to help him get away from the gunfire before an off-duty police officer took it over. She described his face as “bloody and bruised”.
The witness also said that it was obvious the group was out there to cause drama, with all of the teenagers out fighting. She said she saw multiple people get mugged at the carnival.
The West Des Moines Police Department are glad that they got the suspected shooter’s firearm and it is out of their possession. Bryan said that the youth in West Des Moines are getting their hands on more firearms and airsoft guns.
Just earlier this week, the Des Moines Police Department confiscated several guns from minors in just the span of hours.
“Just this week from the night of the 13th into the morning of the 14th, in about a five hour period we recovered six handguns,” said Sergeant Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department. “Several of which were possessed by minors and several of which were privately manufactured firearms, what people call ‘ghost guns’.”
Parizek said that this amount of guns being seized in just a couple hour span is becoming more frequent for his officers. He called on the community to help combat young children getting their hands on these weapons, and report what you see.
The investigation into the shooting at the West Des Moines carnival is still ongoing at this time.