Police Think Des Moines Man May Have Randomly Targeted Shooting Victims

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PLEASANT HILL, Iowa — A Des Moines man is facing numerous charges, including two counts of attempted murder, following three shootings in Pleasant Hill Monday morning.

Pete Polson, 32, is accused of opening fire at three different locations, injuring two people during the shooting spree.

WATCH: Press Conference on Monday Morning Shootings

Polson has been charged with two counts of attempted murder. According to police, he also faces two counts of willful injury, three counts of intimidation with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm as a felon.

He was taken into custody shortly after 7 a.m. Monday near NE 45th Court and NE 19th Avenue in Des Moines.

Police described the shootings as "random." They admit incidents like these are rarely random. But they have been unable to find any connection between Polson and the three men he targeted. "The only thing that seems to tie is the shooter," said Officer Adam Choat, public information officer for Pleasant Hill police.

Choat said Polson targeted the men in a 12-minute shooting spree across the city. Here was the timetable:

6:32a.m.--Man shot while cleaning off his vehicle at 470 Ridgewood

6:36a.m.--Man shot while clearing ice from his vehicle at 380 Benjamin Boulevard

6:45a.m.--Man dodged bullets while trying to give a book bag to his child at 2100 Fountain Crest. He wasn't injured.

Choat said that uninjured man was able to give a description of Polson's green SUV to authorities. A state trooper received the emergency alert that provided a description of that vehicle. That trooper, aided by deputies, apprehended Polson.

Melanie Skelton watched her neighbor getting taken by ambulance after getting shot on Ridgewood. "It's kind of scary," she said of what happened.

"I thought someone had a heart attack or something like that," she said.

The two victims are being treated at Des Moines-area hospitals.

The incident comes after a threat was made on social media app Yik Yak Sunday. A greater police presence was planned for Monday at Southeast Polk High School before the shootings.

Police and school officials said there are no ties between the suspect and the school and believe the shootings are unrelated to the social media threats.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and ATF are assisting with the investigation.



  • Brutally Honest

    If the suspect is in custody, then why no school? Man if they cancelled school in Des Moines everytime there was a shooting, there wouldnt ever be school.

    • SEP Parent

      Because they are no longer able to add extra police at the schools because they are busy with the shootings go to the SEP web page and read the statement Pleasant Hill only has like a 1/4 of the officers that Des Moines does

      • what the

        Well if the perp is in custody, why the extra police then. Little Susie and Johnny should be able to handle it now.

      • 4Mile Parent

        Extra police because at the moment there is no telling whether these shootings were even related to each other, or to the school threat.

      • Kyra

        I agree. I think a lot of times the threats are just to watch everyone scramble. However, if my kid was a student there, I wouldn’t mind being too careful. So, I don’t mind being “too careful” with other people’s kids, either. Especially when 5 of them are my nieces and nephew.

  • Kyra

    This article is misleading. There was a threat towards the school. Extra patrol was planned. The extra patrol isn’t available now because of the shootings.

  • Sue

    this sounds pretty random doesn’t it? That is even more scary than a shooting where there is a connection between the shooter and the victim. I mean, maybe it isn’t, but, the guy that was just dropping off his kid’s backpack…you wouldn’t think the shooter would even know he was going to be there.

  • Mom

    Two of these were next door and a block away from two of my in laws homes WITH kids.
    I don’t know what is wrong with people to do this and for those that say there is no reason to cancel school, you are foolish. This was an excellent call by officials and I would rather be safe than sorry just in case these nut cases took it TO the school. My sons school is just up the street from the shootings and I applaude Pleasant Hill PD & P.Hill Elem for being so safe. School days can be made up, my kids life can not.
    In the blink of an eye my family could have lost family members and praying for the person who is in surgery right now.

    • SEP DAD

      Well put MOM. My daughter was not going to school today. A LOW risk is too much of a risk for me when it comes to my kids. If we can cancel due to POSSIBLY hazardous weather, we can stay at home due to the potential that a shooting will occur.

    • Jova

      He be white? Seriously – you think that’s how you say “he is white”? If you’re going to blast someone for their ignorance don’t write something that makes you look like an idiot, too.

  • k

    Looking at his record on Iowa Courts Online, you have to wonder why he is not in jail. It’s not one of the worse you’ll see, but he’s obviously garbage.

  • Heaven

    Please do not talk down upon my family. I apologize for my families actions, and I send my prayers to the victims and their families.

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