14-year-old boy killed in early morning shooting in Des Moines

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) - Des Moines police are investigating the city's first homicide of 2020.

Investigators on the scene of a shooting in Des Moines during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020 (KCCI)

According to television station KCCI, Des Moines Police said they found Josiah Woods, 14, dead along 17th Street across from King Elementary School at around 3:50 a.m.

Woods was an eighth-grade student at McCombs Middle School.

Detectives are investigating this incident. According to police, witnesses are being interviewed.

Des Moines police Sgt. Paul Parizek said the incident happened at a gathering when some sort of dispute led up to the shooting.

Parizek said he has spoken to the mother of the victim and described her anguish.

“I just spoke to his mom on the phone. Her heartbreak is probably greater than you can imagine right now. So, our emphasis right now is really trying to focus on who did this,” said Parizek.

Parizek said a lack of cooperation from people who were at the scene is "frustrating."

"We want to figure out exactly what led to this and who did it, and get that person in custody," Parizek said.

The victim's father, Ron Woods, said Josiah Woods was ringing in the new year with friends and family before the shooting.

"I am encouraging anybody who may know anything to let the police know," Ron Woods said.

He said he wants the person who killed his son brought to justice through the criminal court system and that he does not want another family to lose a child to gun violence.

"No retaliation, no violence," Ron Woods said. "Let the justice system do their jobs."

Ron Woods said his son was not perfect and that he recently pulled him out of McCombs Middle School so they could move to Dallas, Texas.
He said his son was days away from getting out of Des Moines.

"He was not an angel," Ron Woods said. "He was a troubled youth on his way to move with me to Dallas, Texas, this week. I tried to get him out of here before it was too late."

As the investigation continues, Ron Woods said his family is choosing to focus on how his son lived instead of how he died.

"He was a gifted kid who played the drums, loved his family, was full of energy and had a big ole smile," he said.

Ron Woods said family and faith will help him get through this difficult time.

Read the original story on KCCI.com