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A Shooting Outside Iowa High School Has Left One Dead And Two Critically Injured

One person was killed and two others were critically wounded in a shooting outside an Iowa school, authorities said Monday.

Des Moines police said in a news release that gunfire that struck the victims on the grounds of East High School, near Des Moines' downtown, appeared to come from a passing vehicle.

Potential suspects have been detained but no charges were immediately filed.

Sgt Paul Parizek told KCCI-TV that calls started coming in around 2.50pm, shortly before classes were scheduled to finish for the day.

The district said in a series of tweets that the school was initially locked down but later it announced that students were being allowed to go home.

Parizek said he did not know whether the victims, who all appeared to be teenagers, were students. Their names were not immediately released.

"It is a punch in the gut that we have three kids in the hospital," he said, "but we are hoping for the best for them."

Police said they do not believe there is a continued threat to the public. "It is sad but we do train for this," Parizek said. "We do have to be prepared for it and this is why."

A motive was not immediately known, and Parizek provided no details on the potential suspects. Authorities have recovered shell casings from the scene as they investigate what happened.

"Obviously, we threw every resource we had at this. We know that the kids in that school are our community's most precious cargo."

Principal Jill Versteeg described what happened as "everyone’s worst nightmare" and urged parents to "hug your students and love them".

The district said there would be no classes Tuesday and that it was postponing the ACT and parent-teacher conferences. The district also was making grief counsellors available.

Superintendent Thomas Ahart said school shootings had "become too common" and said: "Real change to gun laws and access would go a long way to help us."

"Our staff and students," he said, "are forced to train for these incidents and the trauma associated with the repeated drills and incidents will remain with them for years to come. It's unfortunate that our state and our country have become a place where firearms are far too easily accessible."

The Des Moines police chief, Dana Wingert, went to the school after the shooting and expressed frustration at the violence.

"Unfortunately what happened here today was just another pointless tragedy in our community," Wingert told WOI-TV. "People using firearms to settle their differences."

Police said it was the fourth homicide in Des Moines this year.

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