A report of a drive by shooting on Friday ended with police holding four Des Moines teens at gunpoint; what started as a prank turned into something far more serious.
Des Moines police got a call from a driver at about noon; he said that a car full of teenagers shot a gun at him near South Union and Park.
He then tailed the car relaying their location to police, but when police intercepted the teens at South Seventh and Bell, what they found was something completely different.
More than a dozen officers trained their pistols and rifles on the teenage boys, but after searching the car and talking with the four teens, police found they had shot silly string at the passing car, not a gun.
“I think their posture indicated to the passing vehicle that they were shooting something other than silly string. A great example of these kids not understanding that their actions that could have been interpreted as something a lot more serious” said Sergeant Paul Parizek.
With no way of knowing if the teens were armed and posed a threat, Sgt. Parizek says he’s proud how the officers fell back on their training.
“These are things we get in service training and roll call training because it needs to be precise” he said.
Parizek also praised the boys for how they handled an extremely tense situation.
“This went real smooth these kids complied, they did exactly as the officers told them to and you couldn’t ask for a better outcome” said Parizek.
Still, the situation was stressful, and even the neighbors were shaken up.
“They had guns pointed up towards our house and I was looking at my dogs and said ‘man I better get him in the house’” said Rick Young.
The teenagers were released without any charges; police saying the events of the day taught them their lesson.
When you’re on the receiving end of that it can be pretty intimidating and it’ll leave quite an impression on you, but safety is the priority whether it’s the community, or ours, and I can guarantee you these kids aren’t going to mess around like this again” said Parizek.
Police discourage anyone from tailing an individual they think is armed. They say it is extremely dangerous and should be left to the professionals.