Two students were killed and a school employee was left injured in critical condition after a shooting at a charter school in Iowa on Monday, officials said.

Police have taken three suspects into custody for a "targetted" attack on Starts Right Here, a Des Moines charter school dedicated to helping disadvantaged youths.

The shooting was reported at about 12:53 p.m. Monday, according to Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek, NBC News reported. "The incident was definitely targeted. It was not random. There was nothing random about this," he said.

Officials have not identified the victims or revealed the possible motive behind the shooting. They said all three unidentified suspects were taken into custody at a traffic stop about 2 miles away from the school.

Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) interim Superintendent Matt Smith shared his thoughts and prayers with the victims while they await more details regarding the incident. "Starts Right Here is a valuable partner to DMPS, doing important work to help us re-engage students, and we stand by to support them during this critical time," Smith said, as per ABC News.

Gov. Kim Reynolds, who serves on the advisory board of the school, said she is "shocked and saddened to hear about the shooting" while expressing her condolences to Will Keeps, Starts Right Here founder.

"I've seen first-hand how hard Will Keeps and his staff work to help at-risk kids through this alternative education program. My heart breaks for them, these kids and their families. Kevin and I are praying for their safe recovery," she was quoted as saying by Des Moines Register.

Parizek shared his concerns about the impact of the shooting on the community. "These are supposed to be our safe spaces. And this school in particular is one that the police department works very closely with. And the school is designed to pick up the slack and help kids that need help the most, the ones who aren't getting the services they need for a variety of different reasons. And to have it happen here, it's going to be a horrible impact on the community," he said.

Meanwhile, Mike Beranek, president of the Iowa State Education Association, called for "effective strategies to eliminate gun violence" that would help to keep the communities safe.

"Our schools need to be bastions of safety, not the recipients of violence. This needs to end. As a nation, we need to recognize this is a societal issue seeping into our schools," he added.