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Recent Drive-By Shootings Have Residents on Edge

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Residents say multiple drive-by shootings in one Des Moines neighborhood has turned what was once kid-friendly into a deadly area.

The recent rash of gunshots in the 2200 block of Lincoln Avenue is tearing at the heart of Toni Hickem, who lost her brother Terry Harris to the same neighborhood violence in June last year.

"He was murdered in this house by a friend. It hasn't even been a year yet and the shootings just remind us daily of what happened to him,” Hickem said.

On May 4, police were called to drive-by shootings in the 2100 block of 23rd Street and the 2200 block of Lincoln Avenue. Another drive-by took place Sunday, May 23 at 22nd Street and Lincoln Avenue and again Wednesday morning. In all, two people have been injured.

“Put that type of violence in the middle of a neighborhood where there are families that live and children at play, that's when it gets a little more serious,” said Des Moines Sgt. Paul Parizek.

Growing up along Lincoln Avenue, residents say they could wander the streets without a care. Now, shell casings litter the sidewalk leaving many in fear.

“I don't even like my baby outside because all we hear is gunshots,” Hickem said.

Three weeks ago, the Des Moines Police Department formed a special enforcement team.

“Two shootings in a week up there where people have been injured, that gets on our radar fast,” Parizek said.

Now after several years of the enforcement team making connections, police believe it's could pay off.

"People are a lot more confident in the police being able to solve the problems,” Parizek said.

Hickem’s brother, Terri, lives on in memory and in the name of her daughter.

“I dedicated my baby to him,” she said.

She hopes community strength can take the neighborhood back.

“I really wanted my mom to move, but this is her home and we shouldn't be run out of our own neighborhood,” Hickem said.

Police haven’t made any arrests yet in any of the recent drive-by shootings near Lincoln Avenue, but they say the community is being helpful.