DES MOINES, IOWA — A Polk County jury found Bravon Tukes not guilty on all five counts he was facing for his alleged role in the shooting inside Starts Right Here educational center in Des Moines in January. Tukes was accused of discussing the shooting with gunman Preston Walls beforehand and then giving him a ride minutes after the shooting that killed Giovanni Dameron and Rashad Carr and injured school founder Will Keeps.
Tukes was charged with two counts of First Degree Murder and individual counts of Criminal Gang Participation, Willful Injury and Attempted Murder. The jury returned unanimous not guilty verdicts on each of the five charges on Friday afternoon. Tukes has continued to maintain that he didn’t know Walls was about to open fire on classmates inside the school.
Walls was facing the same charges as Tukes in his trial last month. A jury found Walls guilty of the lesser charges of Second Degree Murder and Voluntary Manslaughter for the deaths of Carr and Dameron. Walls was found not guilty of the other three charges. Walls faces up to 50 years in prison with the possibility of parole.
Many people experienced varying degrees of emotions after the verdict was read. State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad, who founded Creative Visions to help at-risk youth in Des Moines, said it’s time to let all the families involved heal.
“This will be sobering for Des Moines, sobering to the fact that we have an issue in this city that we need to address and we then address it with family,” Abdul-Samad said. “We still have pain in both families because we still have children who are no longer with us. We have the individual who is locked up and this is still something this young man today will have to live with for the rest of his life. The message that I would like to see … is that this is a time to help. This is not the time to escalate, it is the time to deescalate.”
Watch the full verdict here: