Using a “long gun” and numerous high-capacity magazines, a shooter stormed a south St. Louis high school on Monday. Before being shot and killed by police, he killed a teenage girl and a health instructor and injured several others.
Orlando Harris, 19, a recent graduate of Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, located at Arsenal Street and South Kingshighway close to Tower Grove Park, was named the suspect by police late on Monday. A witness overheard the gunman complain that he was “weary of everyone” in the school.
According to the police, the harm could have been far worse. One student claimed that the pistol jammed at one point, giving children time to flee. Additionally, the police discovered many 30-round magazines on him.
The woman and the teenage girl who died were not identified by the authorities. However, the woman’s family revealed to the Post-Dispatch that she was Jean Kuczka, a 61-year-old physical education and health teacher. Kuczka, a mother of five, resided in Jefferson County’s Dittmer region.
Alexandria Bell, a sophomore, enjoyed dancing and painting, according to family and friends, and she was always grinning. Two more kids were shot in the leg, one in the arm, one in the wrists and mouth, and four additional pupils were shot. In addition, a girl’s ankle was broken, and two other kids were cut.
Michael Sack, the interim commissioner of the St. Louis police, expressed his “great pride” in the police reaction on Monday evening. At 9:11 a.m., there was a report of an active shooter; the shooter was shot on the third floor of the school 14 minutes later. He claimed that when a security guard noticed the individual attempting to enter the building, police were informed.
The police response was praised by a number of parents and St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones as well. Sack remarked, “This could have been much worse.” Sack insisted that all doors were closed but would not disclose how the shooter entered the structure. Metal detectors and seven security personnel are present in the building.
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Sack claimed that the shooter was completely innocent. On the site, there are two magnet high schools: Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience, which enrols about 300 students, and Central Visual and Performing Arts, which has about 400 students.
The school principal announced the code phrase that denotes a shooter inside the building over the loudspeaker at approximately 9 a.m., according to math instructor David Williams. Williams heard several gunshots outside his classroom, and the door’s window was shot out. You’re all going to (expletive) die, a man then said.
Police have not disclosed the exact number of rounds that were fired inside the school. Elijah Pohlman, a sophomore at age 15, claimed that when the code was announced over the loudspeaker, there was an uproar. He claimed that after sending his parents a text message expressing his love, he then heard four gunshots and fled. On his way out, he claimed he almost walked into a body in the corridor.
Later, he admitted, “I don’t even know how to deal with it. “I’m afraid,” The shooter was armed with a long rifle, according to Raymond J. Parks, a dance instructor at the school, who noticed him as he prepared to teach a ballet class. According to Parks, the man levelled a gun at him but for some reason did not fire.
When the shooting began, 16-year-old Taniya Gholston was enrolled in the dancing class. “I’m tired of this damn school, I’m tired of everyone at this damn school,” she recalled him saying. Taniya claimed that after the shooter’s rifle jammed, she was able to flee for her life. Ranaiyah Cole was stretching during her time in the dance class when she heard a gunshot.
Ranaiyah, 16, said, “We huddled under a mat in a corner. Ranaiyah and her students sprinted from the school to a deserted Walgreens building when the shooter fled. Ninth-grader Nylah Jones at the school claimed that she was in math class when the shooter opened fire into the room from the corridor but was unable to enter the room.
She claimed that when the shooter pounded on the door, students gathered in the room’s corner and made an effort not to move. Senior at CVPA Ryane Owens, 18, claimed that at first, pupils “thought it was a drill. Then, noises were heard. The laughter at the back of the class ceased as soon as there was a boom, according to teacher Michael De Filippo.
At the time, Taniya Lumpkin was enrolled in a speech and debate course. She claimed that although a staff member instructed them to do so as they would for an invasion practice, they “didn’t know if it was real or not.” Taniya remarked, “The next thing you know, we just heard gunfire.” She recalled hearing single bullets at first, then many, and finally single once more.
16-year-old Ja’miah Hampton heard gunshots on the third floor of the building as she was in the singing lesson on the fourth floor of the structure. Then there were so many that she stopped counting after hearing one loud one, she said. “I don’t understand why people can be so harsh.”
Police, ambulances, and a SWAT van had closed off the area around the school by 9:30 a.m. Hundreds of evacuees congregated at the Schnucks grocery store on Arsenal as students and employees filed out of the buildings with their hands raised.
There, parents and children reconnected, crying and hugging one another. One boy was giving his mother comfort. “I’m relieved it is finished. My pals are still around. No worries, Mom. I’m here, so it’s fine,” he remarked. At the day’s opening press conference, Mayor Jones and Rep. Cori Bush spoke.
Jones choked up as he cried out, “It’s so unjust.” I feel terrible for these families. This is something that shouldn’t happen to our kids. In the wake of the incident, Bush stressed the importance of getting assistance if necessary: “If you don’t know who to talk to, you may call our office,” she added. To not be okay is acceptable.
In response to the shooting, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters in Washington that “we need additional action to stop the scourge of gun violence in the wake of Newtown, Parkland, Buffalo, Uvalde and countless other shootings in communities across the country.” She urged the U.S. Senate to pass an assault weapons ban and take “other commonsense actions.”
Following the shooting on Monday, Central Visual and Performing Arts and Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience high schools will be closed on Tuesday, according to a late-night announcement sent by St. Louis Public Schools.