DES MOINES, Iowa -- What started as a report of a traffic accident on Des Moines' east side quickly turned into a homicide investigation.
On Saturday night, police found 33-year-old Adriel Ward unconscious in his car and suffering from a gunshot wound in the 2100 block of Delaware Avenue shortly after 9:30 p.m.
The incident was first reported as a traffic accident after a 911 caller said Ward hit a utility pole. However, police say Wards injuries caused him to crash. Investigators found several bullet holes in his car. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Police say evidence suggests Ward was an intended target.
“There is no doubt in our mind that someone was shooting at him, but whether or not they knew who they were shooting at, whether or not there was an incident that preceded this or whether or not this was a case of mistaken identity, these are the things that have to be determined,” says Des Moines Police Sergeant Paul Parizek.
Sgt. Parizek adds while the lack of witnesses makes the case challenging to solve, there are leads detectives are following up on.
“We've got some people that can provide us with information about the victim's activity prior to the homicide, like where he was and what he was doing. That puts us on a good path.”
This is Des Moines' sixth homicide of 2017.
Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa at 515-223-1400.