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Police: 'Miracle' that no one else was hurt in Ped Mall shooting

Victim released from hospital; no additional arrests have been made

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IOWA CITY — Iowa City police said it was a “miracle” no one else was hurt in a shooting early Sunday morning that left one man injured.

“The Ped Mall is literally a sea of people,” at bar close, said Sgt. Zach Diersen. “It’s a miracle no one else was hurt. The Iowa-Iowa State game is probably the most well-attended football game in Iowa City. There were literally thousands of people. We were very fortunate it didn’t become a bigger issue.”

Police are still investigating the shooting, which resulted in the arrest of 19-year-old Demontrae L. Poole of Cedar Rapids. No other arrests have been made, but Diersen said the victim — who was shot in the upper, right chest — has since been released from the hospital.

Iowa City police said an officer saw people running from the intersection of Burlington and Clinton streets around 2 a.m. Sunday. Police said it appeared as if a fight had taken place.

Diersen said on Monday the shooting happened on the sidewalk or street near Starbucks Coffee and the Mill. Police believe, based on reliable witness statements, that the shooter shot into a white car on Burlington Street and hit the man who later showed up at the hospital.

As police responded to the altercation at Burlington and Clinton streets, they learned at least one person involved was carrying a gun. A man matching the description of the person carrying the gun — Poole — was spotted by officers and was still carrying a gun. Poole took off running when officers approached him, police said.

Still armed, Poole ran through the crowded Ped Mall until he was taken into custody near the intersection of College and Linn streets. By that time, he had ditched the gun, but police found 14 baggies of marijuana on him.

Police cleared out the Ped Mall and attempted to find Poole’s discarded weapon, but police said those efforts were unsuccessful.

“Basically, the Ped Mall was evacuated in an effort to recover it,” Diersen said. “We went through trash cans, searched through all those little planters. We have not recovered the gun and I don’t anticipate that we will.”

Diersen suspects Poole either handed the gun off to an associate or threw it and it was picked up by someone else. While the chase was picked up by security cameras in the Ped Mall, Diersen said he doubts investigators will be able to tell what happened to the gun, given the large number of people.

Diersen said police are still trying to piece together what led to the shooting. A handful of witnesses have come forward, but police are always looking for more.

“If there are people out there that have information, we’d be happy to get that information,” Diersen said.

Diersen said the shooting victim has talked with police and has been cooperative.

Officers are asking that anyone who witnessed the incident or has information on the location of the gun contact Iowa City Area CrimeStoppers at (319) 358-8477.

Poole faces charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, Iowa Drug Tax Stamp Violation and interference with official acts with a dangerous weapon, all Class D felonies; carrying weapons, an aggravated misdemeanor; and interference with official acts causing injury to an officer, a serious misdemeanor. If convicted, Poole could spend up to 18 years in prison.

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