Sherman Hill Neighborhood Reacts as Police Investigate Suspicious Death

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Life-saving measures including CPR were not enough to save a man from a gunshot wound in the Sherman Hill neighborhood Monday.

As Des Moines police continued their search for a suspect, residents say gun violence in their neighborhood is unnerving.  "I’m not OK with this. It’s scary.  Finding this out it worries me and it worries my wife," said Billy Messenger, who lives down on the street that the crime occurred.

Home to some of Des Moines’ oldest homes, the Sherman Hill Historic District became home to a suspicious death investigation after a man was found unresponsive in a pickup truck in an alley behind 689 18th Street.  "They rushed him up to Methodist hospital, but a little after three o'clock he was pronounced dead," said Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek.

Carter Yerkes was taken aback to find police tape and a mobile crime scene unit across from his home.  "It’s a really sad situation.  It’s definitely not reflective of the neighborhood and not what we normally see here.  So it’s a sad situation all around," Yerkes said.

Messenger and his wife thought they’d put gun violence in their rear view two years ago when they moved from Houston, Texas.  He said, "It kind of freaks me about and everybody else that lives here. Is this going to be an ongoing thing or just a freak accident? I don’t even know."

As the death investigation continues, police believe finding the individual who pulled the trigger is only a matter of time.  Parizek said, "We may have some eyewitnesses, we may have some earwitnesses, so we are putting all of those pieces together. Looking for cameras and going door to door.  We are going to see what we can find out and figure out exactly what happened."

Yerkes believes what happened and where it happened may be a calling card for serious dialogue.  "With gun violence as a hot topic in this country, we need to talk about it and talk about gun control and who is getting guns and how they are getting guns."

Des Moines police do not believe the public is at risk, but they ask anyone with information leading to a suspect to call local law enforcement.

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