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Community remembers Starts Right Here shooting victims at vigil

The victims' families asked the community to remember 18-year-old Gionni Dameron and 16-year-old Rashad Carr positively.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Friends, family and people from the Des Moines community came together outside the Starts Right Here building Friday evening to honor the memory of two teens killed earlier this week. 

18-year-old Gionni Dameron and 16-year-old Rashad Carr were shot and killed Monday afternoon while at SRH, a downtown community outreach center for at-risk youth.

The victims' families asked the community to remember Gionni and Rashad positively.

"Let's focus on the positive things about my son and keep the narrative what it's supposed to be, which is the fact that these two really good boys, they lost their life for no reason. They didn't deserve it," said Gary Dameron, Gionni's father.

Rashad's grandmother, Nicole Sanders, said the teen was a loving family member and was making plans to attend college. For Sanders, this type of grief is familiar — she shared that her son was also a victim of gun violence. 

"[He] was gunned down the same way," she said. "His anniversary is next month. When I say I'm so tired, I am tired." 

Many people are affected by this shooting, with community activists pleading for kids to take this tragedy and turn it into a lesson. 

Des Moines Public Schools sent sent a message to the district, reading in  part: 

"Gionni and Rashad were pulling their lives together, enrolling in a high school credit recovery program to work toward graduation and start the next phase of their lives." 

Will Keeps, the creator of the nonprofit where the shooting took place, was seriously injured in the shooting and remains hospitalized.

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