DES MOINES, Iowa — A carefree afternoon Tuesday offered an escape just days after minds were frantically racing for Roosevelt High School parents.
“A day like today is a great day to come out and focus on something positive. The team is together and just to look for something good in the world,” said Kate Brown.
A tennis match between Roosevelt and Ottumwa was a welcomed distraction for Rob Whitehead after three Roosevelt students were shot early Sunday morning at a post-prom gathering. Whitehead has had some heavy talks with his two kids who are students at the school. “It was my son’s friend who got shot so we have to talk about it. How is he? How’s he doing? How is he feeling? How’s his parents,” said Whitehead.
Brown is concerned for her child who is a senior student but doesn’t want to be overbearing with questions. She said, “I think it’s just patience and love and physically being there and mentally being there.”
Also searching for answers are the police. They were called to the 400 block of Foster Drive shortly after 12:20 a.m. Sunday morning. Investigators say around 200 people, mainly students were gathering after Roosevelt’s prom when uninvited guests caused an altercation which led to the gunfire. “It’s terribly sad that it happened. I think it could have been a lot worse and very grateful it was not,” said Brown.
While the overnight shooting was among the darkest hours parents of students at Roosevelt have been glowing with praise over the school’s response with counselors available and a Tuesday morning vigil at the flag pole to help young minds process it all. “The first thing they did was increase local law enforcement around the school and that gives parents and kids a sense of safety,” said Chad Stone whose child is a senior student at Roosevelt.
All three gunshot victims are expected to survive and some are at least eating well. “They all got together and made some cookies for their friend last night and talk about it. Not too much, but enough,” said Whitehead.
A traumatic experience that will stick with students and parents forever. Brown said, “These kids experienced more than most people have in the world this past weekend.” Putting life’s simple pleasures on a sunny day into perspective. “Sports has that way of bringing people together in the school spirit of it,” Whitehead said.
At this time police have made no arrests in the case. They continue to investigate leads and interview witnesses.