Des Moines Police Identify 14-Year Old Killed in First Homicide of the Year

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DES MOINES, Iowa-- Des Moines Police say 14-year old Josiah Woods was killed early this morning in a shooting. It happened just before 4:00 a.m. in the 1400 block of 17th Street. Officers found Woods with a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say Woods was in an interior porch when he was struck by gunfire. Police can't yet confirm where the shots came from and if Woods was the intended target.

"It's frustrating, you know, we we've talked about how gun violence has been trending down but there's really no comfort in that right now when you've got a 14-year- old boy murdered and we need to find out who did it," Sergeant Paul Parizek with Des Moines Police.

The homicide was located in the King Irving neighborhood near King Elementary School. Neighbors tell Channel 13 it's common to see kids hanging out until late at night.

Des Moines Police have interviewed over 12 witnesses, but believe that there are more to be found. Police also say current witnesses are not cooperating in the investigation.

"We need the folks that are closest to this to step up, we can solve these crimes and we can put this type of violence to arrest but we can't do it alone. We need to come together as one group and face it head on," said Parizek.

Woods' father is pleading with witnesses to come forward. Bishop Ron Woods also wants the violence to end. "We are also asking that there be no retaliation and no violence as a result of what happened with my son. My family and I are God fearing people and we don't want any more bloodshed. No fighting, no shooting, nothing in retaliation to what has taken place to my son. I think his death serves enough of a purpose to bring a community together to end this violence."

Ron Woods says his son was a talented musician who also enjoyed sports and playing with his friends. Josiah Woods was a student at McCombs Middle School in Des Moines. Ron Woods say he was preparing Josiah to come live with him and his wife in Dallas.

The Woods family is planning a celebration of life service for Josiah.

This is the first homicide of 2020 in Des Moines.

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