Des Moines Valet Assaulted by Teens in Swarm Attack

DES MOINES, IOWA -- An Iowa man was trying to make a living as a downtown Des Moines valet when a group of teens made him fear for his life.  "The valet for the hotel was retrieving a customer`s car and he was attacked by a group of about five juveniles inside the parking garage," said Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek.

Monday evening, shortly before 9 p.m., 50-year-old Troy Vangundy was driving from the Hyatt Place parking garage in the 400 block of 6th Street when the juveniles, ranging in age from 12 to 17 years old, began pounding on the vehicle.  Vangundy then got out to tell them to move.  "That's when they just swarmed him and started hitting and kicking him," Parizek said.

Video surveillance, that officers are reviewing, shows him attempting to get back into the hotel for safety.  "At one point he tried to run away from them, but somebody punched him in the back of the head and knocked him to the ground and then they continued to assault him." said Parizek.

Help arrived in the form of strangers.  Parizek said, "Two customers saw this happening and tried to intervene and one of them ended up with a chipped tooth."

Shortly after the assault, four of the five suspects were apprehended and taken into custody just two blocks east at 4th and Grand Avenue.  A 12-year-old remains on the loose.  Parizek said, "It is not just kids being kids.  These are behavior problems and should be addressed somewhere else and then they are not and they become police problems."

Police say the details are strikingly similar to a beating in 2013.  Terrance Cheeks and LeShaun Murray, 15 at the time, severely assaulted Mike Wasike who died of those injuries in 2018.  Cheeks and Murray recently pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.  "There are some eerily similar circumstances to what happened to Mike Wasike and I don`t think these kids often times think that something simple like this could escalate to something that serious," said Parizek.

Two 14-year-olds are charged with assault.  A 12-year-old received disorderly conduct and was released to his parents.  A 17-year-old is charged with carrying a concealed weapon after police found him with a BB gun.

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