Shooting at Des Moines bar was third in 5 months
A man in his 30s suffered a minor injury Wednesday during a shooting in front of a troubled bar on the north side of Des Moines, police said.
Officers responded to the shooting about 4:10 p.m. at Triple Double at 910 Hull Ave. in the city's Highland Park neighborhood, where the owner's brother was grazed in the arm with a bullet or glass that shattered when three bullets pierced through the front door window. Police described the injury as “incredibly minor.”
Three potential suspects were taken into custody; no charges have been filed. Three bullet holes could be seen in the front window of the restaurant and a police spokesman said three shell casings were found in the parking lot.
A firearm was recovered from a suspect vehicle, a Dodge Charger, which was pulled over nearby, police said.
The restaurant’s owner, Donald Celander, was in the kitchen when shots rang out. As his customers laid on the ground, he ran out and thought to himself, “Where’s my brother?”
About 15 minutes before the shooting, several men who had previously been kicked out of the restaurant came inside. They had been involved in a shooting at the bar weeks earlier, Celander said, so his staff called the police. Then the men returned with a gun, firing three rounds aimed at his brother, he said.
“All of this was retaliation because we called the police,” he said.
His brother declined medical treatment for the minor injury, police said.
Wearing a red Triple Double shirt, Celander said his main concern remains the safety of his customers. Despite recent shootings at the business, he said the restaurant plans to remain open and his staff will continue to call the police when disturbances occur.
“You’re not going to eat here and get shot,” the 29-year-old owner told the Register. “We’re going to keep calling the cops, so you can shoot at us all you want. They’re going to keep coming, and we’re going to keep pressing charges until everyone is OK and safe.”
The shooting was at least the third reported at the restaurant's address in the last five months, according to police reports. The previous shootings occurred in the parking lot and near the sidewalk outside, the owner said.
About three weeks ago, two people — ages 23 and 25 — were driven by a private vehicle to a local hospital after they were shot near the restaurant. They suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said at the time.
In that case, officers recovered several shell casings and two handguns at the scene. The bar and a nearby home were struck by gunfire.
Before that shooting, a woman was shot in the upper leg in a brawl at the bar in December, authorities said. Officers found the woman inside the bar; she was uncooperative in the investigation, officers said in a police report.
While being assaulted by multiple men that morning, the bar’s bouncer fired his gun once into the air in what he told police was an attempt to break up the fight. Police confiscated the bouncer’s gun at the scene.
The bouncer told police he saw an unknown number of shots fired from a light colored sedan leaving the area, authorities said.
During the last six months, police have responded to the bar more than 35 times for complaints of loud music, drugs, suspicious activity and shots fired, Sgt. Paul Parizek, a police spokesman, said in March.
The bar's owner said despite the dozens of police calls, his business remains safe and gives back to the community. Since opening eight months ago, his bar has donated 70 backpacks to elementary and middle school students in the city.
At least two legally armed security guards work at the bar Thursday through Saturday night, he said.
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