November 21, 2016
For the first time in the past four months of seemingly random window shootings in Carroll, it appears someone was specifically targeted. Three more reported BB-gun shootings this past weekend bring the total to 50 since late July.
One of this weekend’s shootings was at the house of Ryan Gallegos, pastor of Central Church, who has offered a $1,500 reward for information about the shootings that leads to an arrest and has been vocally disdainful of them.
“It’s friggin’ ridiculous,” he told the Daily Times Herald today. “Somebody just needs to step up and turn some people in.”
Gallegos’ church youth club near Kmart was targeted in October, and then this past week someone shot the windows of two vehicles parked out front of the club.
At Gallegos’ house, the culprit either shot from an alleyway or walked onto his property to shoot the windshield of a car parked in his driveway.
Police Chief Brad Burke said the apparent targeting of the church’s youth club and its pastor — along with other departures from previous shootings — indicates there might be other culprits beyond the original shooter.
“We’ve now got some copycat activity,” he said. “We think we have a second group, or a third group or a fourth group of people doing this.”
The shootings have had significant publicity on Facebook and in this newspaper, which might have spurred the copycats, Burke said.
Police officers have adjusted their patrols in response but so far have not been able to catch someone in the act.
At least one vehicle was recorded on video surveillance footage, but the camera was too far away to yield a clean image, Burke said.
No one has reported that they witnessed one of the shootings.
Police believe that because the shots are shattering windows that someone is using a compressed-air-powered gun, which is more powerful than, say, a pump-action BB gun.
The weapons don’t make a loud bang like gunpowder but rather a brief release of air.
Police officers in Iowa City on Saturday arrested five teenagers suspected of shooting homes and vehicles with BB guns in a two-day spree. They allegedly confessed to about 35 shootings.
Those with information about the Carroll crimes can call the police department at (712) 792-3536.