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DMPD searching for material witness in connection to city's 4th homicide

Police believe there is no ongoing threat to the public.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines police are searching for a material witness in connection to the city's fourth homicide, according to a Facebook post

Police say 30-year-old Gustavo Morales has an active material witness warrant related to the investigation.

The warrant was issued just days after DMPD patrol officers and medics with the Des Moines Fire Department responded to a home on East 39th Court around 6:30 a.m. on Sunday to investigate a report of an injured person.

Upon arrival, first responders found a deceased 36-year-old man, identified as Daniel Porter Lovett, with a gunshot wound in the yard.

DMPD detectives are investigating the incident as a homicide.

"There's no indication of any ongoing threat to the neighborhood and you can expect an increased police presence here for quite some time," said Sgt. Paul Parizek on Sunday. 

Anyone with information regarding Morales' location is asked to contact Det. C. Lohnes at 515-639-5594, or submit a tip to Crimestoppers of Central Iowa at 515-223-1400.

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Despite this incident, most residents Local 5 spoke to described the neighborhood as being a pretty quiet place, mostly filled with seniors and retirees.

"They say most bad things happen at night, but you know, I never would have thought it was gonna happen," said Caleb Morawksi, who lives in the neighborhood. "You know, like I said, this neighborhood's pretty quiet. So it's pretty shocking because it's not something you expect, especially in a neighborhood like this."

Morawksi's sentiment is one that other residents echoed. They said the biggest safety concern before Sunday was drivers speeding down nearby Douglas Avenue. 

Still, residents say they aren't going to let the news scare them away from their homes. 

"I do different things to ensure my own safety in the house," Morawski said. "And so I know that I'm more protected. It's more so the older people in the neighborhood that I'd be more concerned about other than myself."

Local 5 will update this story as more information becomes available. Download the We Are Iowa app or subscribe to Local 5's "5 Things to Know" email newsletter for the latest.

DMPD is currently investigating the city’s fourth homicide of 2023. Here’s a summary of what information can be shared now.

Posted by Des Moines Police on Sunday, January 22, 2023

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