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Bystander Assaulted in Large Fights Involving DMPS Students

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DES MOINES, Iowa – Police are investigating after two large fights involving Des Moines Public School students led to an assault on a bystander Monday.

Several police officers were dispatched to an area from DART Central Station to 6th and Walnut Monday around 3:00 p.m. after Student Resource Officers with the Des Moines Police Department learned about a fight that might happen after school in downtown.

The officers were on scene to monitor the area when they noticed a large number of students arriving. Police say at one point, there were more than 100 students from several high schools and middle schools in the area. Officers ordered the juveniles to leave, but they refused.

A large fight started in the 600 block of Walnut, in front of officers, and police used pepper spray to break it up. Three male juveniles – aged 14, 15, and 16 – were arrested.

About two hours after the incident began, most of the crowd had left the area by bus — but police say many of them only moved to another location where an assault took place.

Police were called to the McDonald’s parking lot at 601 University Avenue on a report of a large fight involving juveniles. Witnesses told police many of those involved had been part of the earlier incident downtown.

Officers say during the fight, the juveniles turned on a 55-year-old man walking in the area and attacked him. According to police, the attack may have happened because the victim tried to pet someone’s dog.

Once officers arrived on the scene, the crowd scattered. The victim suffered a possible broken nose and a deep cut to the head. He was transported to a Des Moines hospital for treatment.

Police say surveillance video from the McDonald’s may help them identify the man’s attackers.