Two students were killed Monday and an employee was in serious condition after a shooting at a charter school in Des Moines, Iowa.

The incident occurred just before 1 p.m. at Starts Right Here, a mentorship organization for at-risk youth, according to the Des Moines Register.

Three people were taken into custody after a traffic stop about half an hour later based on a witness description. It was not immediately clear if charges have been filed.

The students were found in critical condition and taken to a hospital, where they died. The third victim was in surgery.

“The incident was definitely targeted,” Des Moines Police Department Sgt. Paul Parizek said at a news conference. “It was not random. There’s nothing random about this. It was certainly a targeted incident. But as far as getting motive, that is something that we are going to try and figure out.”

Neither the victims nor the suspects have been identified.

Des Moines Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Parizek speaks outside the Starts Right Here building, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Des Moines Public Schools and Starts Right Here have been partners since 2021. The program serves 40 to 50 students at a time, according to KCCI. No public school employees were present during the shooting.

“We are saddened to learn of another act of gun violence, especially one that impacts an organization that works closely with some of our students,” Des Moines Public Schools said in a statement.

“We are still waiting to learn more details, but our thoughts are with any victims of this incident and their families and friends. Starts Right Here is a valuable partner to DMPS, doing important work to help us re-engage students, and we stand by to support them during this critical time.”

David Matthews

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