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SHOOTING CASE: May Stem From Boyfriend’s Drug Debt

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A Des Moines woman is in stable condition and expected to survive after apparently being shot in the head Wednesday at her home.

Police say 36-year-old Brian Case told them he and his girlfriend, 34-year-old Ellen VanDam, were talking at their home at 6204 South Union around 7:00 p.m. when she “suddenly dropped.” He went over to her and noticed blood coming from her head.

Case says he drove VanDam to Mercy Hospital because he was unable to find a phone to call 911, though police say he had a phone with him when they interviewed him at the hospital.

According to a police report, Case told officers he believed the shooting may be in retaliation for a $3,000 to $4,000 drug debt he owes. He told officers another shooting happened at his home a few days ago that he didn’t report because he was afraid of retaliation. He says he collected the shell casings he found outside of his home from the shooting.

The Des Moines Police Department says they've been called to Case's home 33 times in the past year. Last June police say Case was involved in a standoff during which he locked himself inside his home with a machete.

No charges have been filed in connection with the shooting.

Case is being held in the Polk County Jail on drug and weapons charges.

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