(Des Moines, IA) -- The Des Moines non-profit organization Starts Right Here, that was the site of a shooting this week is releasing a statement. The shooting Monday resulted in the deaths of two teens and the injury of the non-profit's founder, Will Keeps. The family of Will Keeps has also released a statement (below).
We are heartbroken and angry that two of our students were shot and killed yesterday afternoon. Will Keeps, founder and president of Starts Right Here, a nonprofit educational program, was also shot and is in surgery. Our prayers are with Will, and the families and friends of all those involved in this tragedy.
This is a tremendously painful time for our entire Starts Right Here community as our sole focus is to help at-risk youth reach their full potential. These actions are contrary to all that we stand for and point out more must be done. These two students had hope and a future that will never be realized. We can no longer say this type of violence doesn’t happen in Des Moines. Sadly, it does. However, it will not stop us from the work that we are called to do, and that work starts right here.
We thank the Des Moines Police Department and first responders for their swift action. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation. And, we ask for community support as we grieve for those who died and for all those forever impacted by this violence.
Classes are cancelled for the remainder of the week. However, grief counselors will be at the Kurtz Building today (1000 Porter Avenue) to meet with students.
Starts Right Here was founded by local rapper William Holmes (also known as “Will Keeps”), who saw a need in the community to create a place where at-risk youth in Des Moines could be served in a supportive and empowering environment that helps them reach their full potential. This is accomplished through programming that encompasses education, music, sports and other activities – all designed to help empower participants, while also provide purpose and hope for a better future. Will’s passion for helping youth through Starts Right Here has attracted the attention of many other business and community leaders, all of whom share the same vision as Will for youth in the community. https://startsrighthere.org/
The family of Starts Right Here Founder William Holmes, also known as Will Keeps, has also released a statement.
We want to thank everyone for their prayers and outpouring of support for Will and the students involved in this tragedy. Will is currently in serious, but stable condition. He has a long recovery ahead and we are deeply appreciative for the care he is receiving. Even though Will is severely injured, he is now more determined than ever to continue with his work with at-risk youth and looks forward to, once again, working hand-in-hand with other community leaders on the mission of Starts Right Here. We ask for your continued prayers for everyone involved in this tragedy.