Authorities: Fight Breaks Out During Party, Turns Deadly

Des Moines police are investigating the city’s first double homicide this year, which stemmed from a dispute at a party.

Des Moines police Sgt. Paul Parizek told KCCI that officers were called just after 3 a.m. Saturday to the 1800 block of Easton Boulevard on the city’s east side on reports of a shooting.

Parizek said a fight broke out during the party, though it is unclear what started the dispute. He said officers dealt with a “hostile crowd” and witnesses weren’t cooperating well with detectives.

When officers arrived, they found two men with gunshot wounds.

Police said 26-year-old Darnell Lee, of Des Moines, died at the scene and 30-year-old Jason Smith, also of Des Moines, died at a hospital.

Parizek said Saturday’s shooting marks the first double homicide of the year.

“We’re frustrated with the level of violence that some people are comfortable with,” Parizek said. “It’s definitely not a reflection of the community. These are some very deliberate lifestyle choices that people are making and, unfortunately, people are dying.”

Officers cleared the scene by noon.


"It's just heart-wrenching to see this happen to two more young people," neighbor Lisa Davis said.

Davis said the violence hits too close to home and hopes witnesses come forward with more information.

"People, put the guns away," she said. "Let's have some peace and let the officers do their work and help them in any way you can to solve this murder."

Authorities continue to investigate and had made no arrests as of Saturday afternoon.

The slayings mark the city’s 17th and 18th homicides this year, compared with 13 homicides in all of 2016.

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