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'We have to do it together': Here is what community leaders have proposed to curb Des Moines youth violence

The project was announced one day after a shooting that killed one and injured two others outside East High School.

DES MOINES, Iowa — A day after a shooting outside East High School in Des Moines killed one and left two others injured, community members are stepping up with plans to stem the tide.

On Tuesday, a group gathered at Creative Visions in Des Moines to reveal their plan to address the violence. 

Speakers included Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, D-Des Moines, Izaah Knox of Urban Dreams, Ivette Muhammad of Creative Visions and the Rev. Rob Johnson. The group announced the formation of what they are calling "a violence think tank." 

"We're talking about getting out the whiteboard. We're talking about reaching out to other states. We're talking about getting those that are experts," Abdul-Samad said.

"The work didn't just start yesterday. It's been going on and it's been happening, but we can't do it alone. We have to do it together," Johnson said.

The speakers want the think tank to collaborate with all corners of the Des Moines community to bring systemic change. The cause is deeply personal for Abdul-Samad, whose son was killed in 1997.

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"When he died, I made the most asinine promise in the world when I was looking at his body on a gurney in Broadlawns. I said, 'You will be the last,'" Abdul-Samad said.

One thing separating the think tank from other anti-violence efforts: leaders say they want to work directly with area youth to identify what's drawing them to violence and provide other solutions.

"They believe their life span is short anyway. So if we can make them understand that that doesn't have to be their story. They have ears as long as they know that we're sincere," said Ivette Muhammad, Chief Operating Officer of Creative Visions.

Abdul-Samad told Local 5 the membership of the anti-violence think tank is not just limited to organizations like Urban Dreams and Creative Visions. He wants to reach out and partner with community groups and Iowa businesses, as well.

President Biden issued a statement on Tuesday, calling the shooting "yet another senseless act of gun violence."

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Watch: Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert reacts to shooting outside East High School 

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