DES MOINES, Iowa -- United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum said 22-year-old Xzavier Clark was sentenced to ten years in prison on Thursday after pleading guilty for being a drug user in possession of a firearm.
“One of Des Moines’ most violent and most dangerous gang members has been sentenced to a decade in federal prison,” Krickbaum said. “But that sentence was not based on just that conduct, it was based on the repeated acts of violence that we proved to a federal judge yesterday.”
Krickbaum said they connected Clark to a drive-by shooting in June 2019.
“The victim of that shooting was standing in his front yard holding his 2-year-old child when Xzavier Clark shot multiple rounds from that .40 caliber handgun and hit the victim multiple times,” Krickbaum said.
Krickbaum said the incident that led to this sentence was just about a month later. Police said during a high-speed chase, Clark threw that same .40 caliber handgun out the window. When police recovered the gun, they said the shell casings from June matched the gun. They also found marijuana in the car.
“We may not be able to arrest ourselves out of the number of guns on the street. We see them increase exponentially every year. But what we can do is take a strategic approach to determining who is committing the violent crimes in our communities and target those individuals. That’s where today is significant. Mr. Clark is the first of many examples of how this is going to end,” Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert said.
Wingert said there are more charges to come and more problems to solve as they say the offenders keep getting younger and younger.
“This all plays together: the prosecution, the unquenched appetite in the back of this room to take these cases and bring them to justice, and then there’s some social aspects we need to address as well. But the million-dollar question is you know why does a 14-year-old decide to get involved in this activity?” Wingert said.
Wingert said there are multiple investigations open, but they are not targeting one gang. They are targeting individuals who create violence in the community.