DES MOINES, Iowa — Preston Walls said he feared for his life when he shot and killed classmates at the Starts Right Here School.
Walls took the witness stand as the defendant in a trial where he is accused of murdering his classmates, Gionni Dameron, and Rashad Carr, and also wounding school founder, Will Keeps.
Walls said he began hiding a gun inside his winter jacket on January 6. A video was played in court showing Walls hiding his gun under his jacket, and he pointed out on the video how Dameron had stuffed a gun down his pants.
“I needed to protect myself because I knew they had guns from previous days,” said Walls. “I knew they bring guns to school so I brought my gun to school that day.”
Walls was asked why the shooting happened the day it did. He said it occurred because he had only two days left before he graduated from Starts Right Here School.
“I had two days left,” said Walls. “They were not gonna have access to me when I was working in the 101 room. The look that Rashad gave me was the same look he gave me at Walmart the day he shot at me.”
Walls was referring to a time when Carr allegedly fired a gun at him when exiting the Walmart in Altoona.
Walls was asked why he shot his classmates to death and wounded Will Keeps.
He said, “I didn’t want to die that day.”
The prosecution and defense have both concluded their witnesses. The court will now work on jury instructions, and then closing arguments, before the case is sent to the jury.