Police responded to three separate shootings in Des Moines in less than 24 hours. They say shots fired calls aren’t unusual, but this weekend’s violence was definitely out of the ordinary.
In broad daylight Sunday afternoon, neighbors heard a commotion at Edna Griffin Park. Police described it as “drug rip” or a drug deal gone bad.
“If I’m going to sell you narcotics and then rather than you giving me money, you pull out of a gun and rob me of the drugs I have to sell to you. That’s what they determined happened,” says Des Moines Police Sgt. Jason Halifax.
Police say 29-year-old John Hews admitted to setting up a drug deal with 17-year-old Alex Ritchie Jr. When they met, Ritchie is accused of pointing a gun at Hews’ head and demanding the drugs. Witnesses gave a detailed description of the car Hews left in and police caught up with him a short time later. That led them to Ritchie who is charged as an adult with First Degree Robbery.
Authorities are still searching for two shooters in two separate cases. Just before 9PM Saturday, neighbors reported hearing 15 shots fired in the 1600 block of Clark Street. When officers arrived, they found a 22-year old man with a gunshot to the leg.
Around 11:30 AM Sunday, a 36-year-old man was shot in the leg at the Willow Bend Apartments on SW 9th Street. The man told police that the suspect used his phone, then followed him inside his apartment, shot him and fled on foot.
Police say it wasn’t your typical 24 hours in Des Moines.
“Three in a 24 hour period, that’s a bit unusual. None of these three appear to be related, all separate incidences, but obviously troubling nonetheless,” says Halifax.