DES MOINES, Iowa — “We don’t want the perception that`s been tagged now to Hoover to become a reality,” said Des Moines Hoover High School Principal Sherry Poole. Last Friday the reality was gunfire away from school grounds but near Hoover’s homecoming game. While those shots were fired outside of the football stadiums fence line, reportedly leaving no one injured, the gunfire could have hit much closer to home had it not been for an officer’s gut feeling. Sergeant Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department said, “Some of those kids involved were actually inside the stadium and officers recognized based on their behavior that something wasn’t right. They were looking for trouble so they corralled them out of the building. They left and started to come back and cops were still there, so they moved on.” That’s when shots were fired in the Northwest Aquatic Center’s parking lot just north of the stadium. Parizek said, “This didn’t have anything to do with the stadium. It didn’t have anything to do with the teams involved. These kids were looking for trouble and they were going to find it if they were at the mall, football game or school.”
The shooting sent students, fans and players running away towards safety and extra counseling this week. Principal Poole said, “We are going to get through this and we are going to unite as one.” The unity has not only bonded current Hoover Huskies with new t-shirts that read “Peace, Love, Hoover,” but also alumni who called the school determined to pack the stands at this Friday’s home game against Waterloo West. “They basically said this isn’t who we are and this won’t divide us. We are going to make a statement and all show up Friday night to make this a united front,” said Poole.
Some of the noticeable changes Friday at Hoover will stadium lights adjacent to the football stadium being turned on and boom lights in this parking lot north of stadium where gun shots were fired. It will shed light on a parking lot that was pitch black the night of the shooting. “I’m actually thankful we have another home game. We want the perception and reality of Hoover to be that you don’t have to come to Hoover, you get to come to Hoover.”
Police say they will keep the same amount of staffing this Friday as they had a week ago. No arrests have been made in the shooting and police say some of it has to do with a lack of cooperation of witnesses.