The Des Moines area and no doubt the nation was shocked to hear the news that today, Friday April 8th at 2pm a real estate agent, Ashley Okland was shot while holding open a townhome project in West Des Moines. The news was especially upsetting because the young woman was only 27 and West Des Moines is generally considered by many measures to be one of the safest areas of the metro and probably ranks high nationally for its low rate of violent crime. Additionally we are a fairly small board and a close knit community where most agents know each other as there are only around 1300 agents on our entire MLS. We've heard news of Realtors in other localities killed or harmed while showing houses or holding opens around the nation and we talk about safety and the possibility of things like this happening but I think that does little to blunt the disbelief, sorrow and outrage that we in the community feel this evening.
Initially the reports were that the agent had been shot twice but was alive, tragically the news came later in the afternoon that the young agent with Iowa Realty had succumbed to her injuries around 3pm. READ LOCAL NEWS STORY HERE
No suspects have been identified but police hinted that it may not have been a random incident and are urging calm. Iowa Realty put out a press release expressing shock and sorrow and announced it would cancel all open house scheduled for the weekend.
From her photo Ashley appears the picture of youthful enthusiasm and happiness, a beautiful young woman with a bright and prosperous future ahead of her. Eventually, we'll likely find out what motivated the misguided soul who took her life, but we will forever be left with the tragedy of a life and career cut short by violence.
Many agents have taken to Facebook to post messages of condolence, fear, incredulity, sympathy and sorrow. The posts run a gamut of emotions and reflect the frustration, consternation and distress we in the local real estate community are feeling today.
I did not know Ashley personally but I'd like to express my condolences to her family, friends and coworkers for their loss. It's a sad night here in Des Moines. We've lost somebody, and we all feel it.
***Please Help if you have information regarding the shooting death of Realtor Ashley Oakland. Polk County Crime Stoppers has upped the reward amount to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case. Anonymous tips can be made to 223-1400 or by calling West Des Moines police at 222-3344.***