[UPDATE] Three Dead in Ames Shooting Identified and Motive Found
Story County authorities have now provided more key information regarding the shooting that took place last night at Cornerstone Church in Ames.
According to KCCI, "Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald identified the two women killed in the shooting as 22-year-old Eden Moriah Montang and 21-year-old Vivian Renee Flores." Fitzgerald identified the shooter as a 33-year-old old male who had previously been in a relationship with Montang. The story adds that the shooter "fired several rounds from a 9mm handgun, striking Montang and Flores, then turned the gun on himself. A third woman who was with Montang and Flores was able to find safety and was not injured."
The two women were students at Iowa State University. Montang was a senior studying Human Development and Family studies while Flores was a junior majoring in Animal Science.
Fitzgerald provided more context to the situation:
This was a situation that could have unfolded much more tragically had this just been a random act of violence. There was over 80 students in the auditorium at bible study, and if he had found his way inside the church with that intent it would’ve been much more tragic than what we what we have today. This is something where the female and he had just broken up from a relationship and because of that breakup is what caused the charges to be filed by the Ames Police Department.
KCCI says Fitzgerald continued, saying that Montang had put a restraining order in place against the shooter. "(He) was charged with harassment and posing as a public official by Ames police in a domestic incident. He was scheduled to appear in court on those charges on June 10."
The Courier adds that court records find the shooter was waiting on sexual assault charges in Black Hawk County: "Court records show (he) was scheduled to go to trial in July in Black Hawk County on a charge of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse stemming from an incident at a Cedar Falls nightclub.
Authorities allege (he) was at Derringer’s Public Parlor on Main Street on Oct. 23 when he twice put his hand down a woman’s pants."
The national crisis of shootings continues to hit home for Iowans.
Tonight, a shooting took place outside Cornerstone Church in Ames. Three people are dead, including the shooter. Story County Sheriff's Office told WHO13 that the victims were two women, and the shooter was male. There are currently no reports of other injuries.
The 911 call came at 6:51 PM this evening. According to the Des Moines Register, "Officials said the shooting happened in the parking lot of the church as others were inside. Hours later there were still people inside the church as well as in the parking lot."
The church was hosting the Salt Company Summer Kickoff event tonight for college-age individuals to worship together.
Cornerstone Church is located on the eastern edge of Ames near the interchange of I-35 and Highway 30.
Police held a presence outside the church and the area was taped off by local authorities, and KCCI reports that "Ambulances and other emergency vehicles are responding," to the situation.
According to police, there are no other threats are imminent in the Ames area, and this story is developing.
This comes after five shootings took place in the Waterloo area over Memorial Day weekend, all nearly within 24 hours of one another. There was one fatality and four people were injured. Waterloo PD has since asked the public for help in limiting shooting occurrences in the city.
According to the Washington Post, there have been 232 mass shootings as of today in the United States so far in 2022. It's the 20th since 19 children and two teachers were shot and killed at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas last week. Not a single week has passed in 2022 without at least four mass shootings in the US.
The Post adds this: "In 2021, almost 700 such incidents occurred, a jump from the 611 in 2020 and 417 in 2019. Before that, incidents had not topped 400 annually since the Gun Violence Archive started tracking in 2014."