DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines Police are investigating after a crowd of roughly 20 juveniles allegedly attacked a couple after they left a hockey game Saturday night.
The victims, a Des Moines man and his girlfriend, told police they were walking home through the skywalk – an elevated passageway connecting buildings downtown – following an Iowa Wild game at Wells Fargo Arena when they came upon a large group of juveniles near the downtown YMCA.
“They saw a bunch of juveniles gathered in a location and something about what they were doing didn’t seem right and she simply asked them ‘hey, are you guys OK,’ and for whatever reason that aggravated the group and they ultimately started to attack those two,” Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said.
According to a police report, a witness said there was a group of about 20 juveniles that brutally attacked the man, repeatedly kicking and punching him. The woman also had minor injuries.
“As the police were pulling up, there was a large crowd of juveniles running out of the building onto the streets below, so that’s where we were able to grab some of those folks and tried to figure out whether or not they were involved,” Parizek said.
Tom Conley, president of the Conley Group, which provides security for the skywalk, said their security officers deal with three different groups of juveniles that wreak havoc on the skywalk at night.
“Our officers have been shoved down the stairs by these people. We’ve had almost 100 hours of injuries where our officers have been off due to injuries from the skywalk this year,” Conley said.
Conley said they only have two security officers working on 4.5 miles of skywalk after cuts made by the Des Moines Skywalk Association over the years.
“Adequate staffing in that area, along with an armed response, along with a tactical capability in my view would make a huge difference. In the past two years, the problem continues to get worse,” Conley said.
The investigation into the assault is still ongoing.