DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO-TV) — The accidental shooting death of a 16-year-old Des Moines boy has not only shaken the community but also the police department investigating his death.
“These are very difficult cases for us to investigate and I know for us to cover. When you see a sixteen-year-old, a lot of us have kids, he was barely getting his life started. These types of things are predictable and that makes them preventable,” said Des Moines Police Department Sergeant Paul Parizek.
Early Saturday morning, police say 16-year-old Elijah Edwardlee Brown-Townsend was accidentally shot and killed inside a vehicle near Broadlawns Medical Center. The vehicle was stopped at the Quik-Trip near Hickman Road and MLK Parkway. Police believe Brown-Townsend was being handed a weapon in the car by 18-year-old Thomas Londewa Ivy when the gun was accidentally fired and struck the 16-year-old.
“The tragedy here began the moment one of them picked up that gun and there are many things that could have been done community-wide to prevent that from happening and both of those things we need to focus on,” said Parizek.
Brown-Townsend was rushed to the Broadlawns Medical Center by Ivy and the occupants in the car, but he died shortly after. While evidence points to the death being a tragic accident, police say the consequences are real and Ivy was arrested.
Parizek said, “It was an accident but some accidents don’t come without consequences and somebody needs to answer for the death of this child. Unfortunately, it is one of his friends.”
Ivy has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, a class D felony and carrying weapons which is an aggravated misdemeanor.