Des Moines Police Credit Hard Work and Community Involvement for Triple Homicide Arrests

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Swift police work is bringing justice in the killings of Devonte Swanks, Malachi Swanks and Thayne Wright.

"We are able to give the family a little bit of relief and get the community relief," said Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek.

Just five days after a triple homicide inside the 600 block of East Hackley rocked Des Moines on Jan. 30, police have placed two suspects behind bars.

"One thing that stands out when you look at the victims and the suspects in this is that everybody is young," Parizek said.

Nineteen-year-old Emmanuel Totaye Jr. was arrested Tuesday morning after a search warrant Friday at his home at 5810 SE 8th Street had evidence of missing items belonging to the homicide victims.

"We are talking about teenagers and just slightly older, so that’s a tough pill for the community to swallow,” Parizek said.

Twenty-year-old Daishawn Gills was already in the Polk County Jail on an attempted murder charge from an incident less than 24 hours after the homicides.  Police say witnesses saw Gills with a long gun prior to the murders.  When located by police, he was found in possession of missing items belonging to the victims.

"It’s a very small portion of our community that is responsible for a large portion of the crimes.  It’s not surprising for us when you see the same name more than once," said Parizek.

Both Gills and Totaye face three counts of first-degree murder and a count of first-degree robbery.  "If you help participate in any part of it where there is a murder, our law allows you to be charged with that murder," said Parizek.

The triple homicide forced some officers away from their loved ones for 48 hours straight, but with that fierce dedication and community involvement, they are closer than ever to finding justice for the Swanks brothers' family and Wright family.

"This changes everything. We have people stepping up and helping us out, saying we are tired of it, too. We are going to come together as a community. That means a lot, and it’s when we can make progress keeping Des Moines safe," said Parizek.

Des Moines police are still investigating and more names could emerge as suspects in the triple homicide.

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