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Nineteen-year-old Miguel Vasquez was shot to death in the early morning hours on Sunday, May 8, 2005, after going outside his 1172 19th St. Des Moines home to confront someone who’d been throwing rocks at his house.
Des Moines police said Vasquez, whom they originally believed to be in his 20s, was shot several times near an alley on the city’s near-north side about 2:20 a.m., Sgt. Todd Dykstra said in a WCF Courier article dated May 9, 2005.
Police said a small, dark car pulled into the alley and someone inside the car starting throwing rocks at Vasquez’s house. Vasquez and another person went outside and confronted those in the car, Dykstra said.
“Once outside, an unknown individual began shooting at them, subsequently striking Mr. Vasquez numerous times,” Dykstra said.
Vasquez was taken to Iowa Methodist Medical Center, where he later died.
Police were still searching Sunday afternoon for the suspect or suspects and the car.
One officer had chased a possible suspect vehicle before discovering the car was involved in a shooting.
Officer Theodore Stroope, en route to handle a complaint about an illegally parked car at 14th Street and Jefferson Avenue around 2:20 a.m.when he saw a dark-colored vehicle drive out of a yard on 19th Street’s west side and land roughly on the sidewalk, Tom Alex of the Des Moines Register reported in a story dated May 10, 2005.
The car headed south in 19th Street’s northbound lanes, and Stoope said he believed he saw two people in the vehicle. After the vehicle vanished, police found marks in a yard in the 1100 block of 19th Street, the Register said. Stones had been knocked out of a retaining wall, and police soon received a report of a shooting in that same block.
They found Vasquez lying in a large pool of blood, and officers called for fire medics and began closing off the crime scene.
Des Moines Police Sgt. Todd Dykstra told the Register detectives wanted to determine whether gang activity played a part in the slaying — the city’s first in that year.
In Des Moines’ Cityview alternate weekly published September 15, 2005, the “Rap Sheet” page included a section entitled Renters Before about the same home where Vasquez had been living when shot.
According to the Cityview report, landlords Florencio and Paul Estrada were cited for numerous violations, including siding, soffit and trim in poor repair with chipped and peeling paint.
After several renovation extensions had come and gone, the Housing Appeals Board voted to send the property to legal without a penalty fine, Cityview reported.
Vasquez’s murder remains unsolved.
If you have any information about Miguel Vasquez’s unsolved homicide please contact the Des Moines Police Department Detective Bureau at (515) 283-4864. You may also contact Polk County Crime Stoppers anonymously at (515) 223-1400.