Governor to speak with victim of Monday’s shooting in Des Moines
Will Keeps talks about his anti-crime video in 2017 as the governor looks on (Radio Iowa photo)

DES MOINES — Iowa’s governor says she hopes to speak soon with the leader of a Des Moines youth program who’s in serious condition after a shooting at the facility. Des Moines Police have identified the two students who were killed Monday.

In 2017, Governor Reynolds was in an anti-crime video produced by Will Holmes, the founder of Starts Right Here. “He’s a really good friend of mine and this is a man that has fought every single day to really help these kids that are at risk,” Reynolds said, “to help them get a GED, to help them get training, to help them get a job.”

Holmes, who raps under the name Will Keeps, founded Starts Right Here for Des Moines Public Schools students. In 2021, Reynolds held a public event at the facility in downtown Des Moines. “It was so important to Will that they had a beautiful facility to go to so that these kids felt that this was better than being on the streets and being involved in a gang and being involved in drugs,” Reynolds said.

Des Moines Police have charged an 18-year-old with two counts of first degree murder for killing students Gionni Dameron, who was 18, and 16-year-old Rashad Carr. Des Moines Police say 18-year-old Preston Walls was also a student at Starts Right Here and he’s been charged with attempted murder for seriously wounding the program’s founder. Holmes is in serious, but stable condition and has a long recovery ahead, according to a statement from his family. They said he’s “more determined than ever” to continue working with at-risk youth.