stone. LOUIS (AP) – An armed former student burst into St. Louis High School on Monday morning, warning: “You’re all going to die!” before shooting and killing a teacher and a teenage girl. Seven other people were wounded before police killed him in an exchange of fire.
Just after 9 a.m., an attack at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School forced students to block doors, crowd corners of classrooms, jump from windows and run out of the building to seek safety. A frightened girl said she met the gunman before his gun became visibly jammed and she was able to run out.
At a news conference Monday afternoon, Police Chief Michael Sack identified the shooter as 19-year-old Orlando Harris, who graduated from school last year.
Sack said the motive was still under investigation, but “there was a suspicion that he may have some sort of mental illness.” Sack said investigators later searched Harris’ home.
Authorities did not name the victims, but the St. Louis Post-Post It was confirmed that the deceased teacher was Jean Kuzka. Her daughter said her mother was killed when gunmen stormed her classroom, moving between him and her students.
“My mother loves children,” Abbey Kuczka told the newspaper. “She loves her students. I know her students look at her like she’s their mom.”
The other death was a 16-year-old woman who died at the school, Sack said.
Seven other students aged 15 and 16, four boys and three girls, are in stable condition. Four students were shot or bruised, two suffered bruises and one suffered a broken ankle.
Sack declined to say how Harris entered the building, which has security, locked doors and metal detectors.
“If anyone has the will, they’ll figure it out, and we don’t want to make it easy for them,” Sack said. “We just need to do everything we can to extend their access to the building to buy us time to respond.”
Harris took out the gun when he arrived at the school and “wasn’t mysterious about what was going to happen. He took it out and went in in an aggressive, violent way.”
Sack said Harris carried nearly a dozen high-capacity magazines with him. “That’s a whole bunch of victims. … It’s certainly tragic for the family and it’s tragic for our community, but it could have been worse.”
St. Louis School Superintendent Kelvin Adams said there were seven security guards at the school at the time of the attack, each stationed at the entrance to the locked building. A guard noticed the gunman trying unsuccessfully to get in through a locked door. Guards notified school officials, who contacted police.
Sack said a call about the gunman came in at 9:11 a.m., police arrived, and Harris went downstairs by 9:25 a.m. He and others praised the quick response of police and other emergency responders.
Central Visual and Performing Arts shares a building with another attractive school, the School of Medicine and the School of Biological Sciences. There are 383 students in the central and 336 in the university.
Monday’s school shooting was the 40th to cause casualties this year — the most in any year since it began tracking shootings in 2018, according to Education Weekly. Deadly attacks include the killing at Rob Elementary School in Uvald, Texas, In May, 19 children and two teachers died.Monday’s St. Louis shooting comes the same day a Michigan teenager pleads guilty Terrorism and first-degree murder in a school shooting that killed four students December 2021.
Taniya Gholston said she was saved when the gunman got into her classroom and his gun jammed. “I only heard two shots and he came in with a gun,” the 16-year-old told Post-Dispatch. “I tried to run, but I couldn’t. I made eye contact with him, but I made it because his gun was stuck.”
The two teachers recounted a near conflict with the Sagittarius.
Ashley Rench told The Associated Press that she was teaching advanced algebra to sophomores when she heard a loud bang. Then the school’s intercom announced: “Miles Davis is in the building.”
“This is our intruder code,” Rench said.
Students hid under her desk and behind a lectern when the gunman gave up and left after attempting to enter the locked classroom.
“I don’t know why he chose not to break my window or shoot,” she said.
Raymond Parks was about to give a dance class to his juniors when a man in black came up. At first, Parks thought the man was holding a broom or stick. Then he realized it was a gun.
“The kids started screaming and running and fighting. He went straight through two doors and pointed a gun at me because I was in front,” Parks said.
For some unknown reason, the gunman pointed the gun at him, causing Parks and a dozen students to leave the room, Parks said. “That’s what I don’t understand. He let me go,” Parks said.
Janay Douglas’ 15-year-old daughter was trapped in the hallway when the school was locked down. Douglas said she got a call from her daughter letting her know she heard gunshots.
“One of her friends broke in, he got hit in the hand, and then she and her friend ran away. The phone went off,” Douglas said. “I am on my way.”
The teacher who was killed, Kuczka, taught health at Central for 14 years and recently started teaching cross country at Collegiate, her daughter said. “She’s definitely looking forward to retirement, though. She’s close,” Abbey Kuczka said.
Kuzka’s biography on the school’s website describes her as a married mother of five and grandmother of seven. She is an avid cyclist and was part of the 1979 national championship lacrosse team, now with Missouri State University.
“I can’t imagine myself in any other profession than teaching,” Kutzka wrote on the website. “In high school, I taught swimming lessons at the YMCA. From then on, I knew I wanted to be a teacher.”
The shooting has shaken St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones.
“Our kids shouldn’t be going through this,” Jones said. “They shouldn’t be doing aggressive shooter training just in case. Unfortunately, that happened today.”
White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said more needs to be done to stop gun violence.
Jean-Pierre said: “The daily failure of the Senate to send the assault weapons ban to the president’s desk or wait for another common-sense action is too late for families and communities affected by gun violence .”
The district closed all schools for the remainder of the day and canceled all after-school activities, including sports.
Associated Press news editor Julie Wright from Kansas City, Missouri. Reporter Margaret Stafford from Liberty, Missouri. Salter reported from O’Fallon, Missouri.