The 19-year-old gunman, who killed two people and wounded several others at his former high school, left a note saying his struggles led to a “perfect storm of mass shooters” in St. Louis. Lewis Police said.
Orlando Harris, who graduated from Central High School for the Visual and Performing Arts last year, returned Monday with an AR-15-style rifle, more than 600 rounds and a dozen high-capacity magazines, St. St. Louis Police Chief Michael Sack said.
Harris died in hospital after a shootout with officers.
Investigators found a handwritten note in Harris’ car that was driving to the school. Sack details some passages:
“I have no friends. I have no family. I have never had a girlfriend. I have never had a social life. According to Sack, I have been a loner all my life.” “It was a perfect match for a mass shooter. storm.”
The tragedy could have been “worse” given the gunman’s extensive arsenal, the police chief said.
Authorities believe locked doors and a quick law enforcement response – including off-duty officers – prevented more deaths at the school.
But St Petersburg safety and security chief DeAndre Davis said the gunman did not enter the checkpoint where security was stationed. St. Louis Public Schools.
Davis also said the security guards stationed at the district’s schools were not armed, but the mobile officers who responded to school calls were.
“For some people that’s going to cause some kind of commotion,” Davis said Tuesday. “For us, we think it’s better for our officers to not have officers armed in schools for the sake of normal schools for the kids.”
Student Alexandria Bell, 15, and teacher Jean Kuczka, 61, were shot dead in the attack.
A colleague of the teacher, Kristie Faulstich, said Kuchka died protecting her students.
In the rush to evacuate students from the school, “one student looked at me and said, ‘They shot Ms. Kuchka. And then she said, Ms. Kuchka, who put herself between the gunman and the student. ,” Falstic said.
Her daughter, Abigail Kuczka, told CNN that Kuczka is looking forward to retiring in just a few years.
Alexander is looking forward to her sweet 16, her father, Andre Bell, told CNN affiliate KSDK.
“It was a nightmare,” Bell said. “I’m devastated. I need someone – the police, the community, someone – to make this matter.”
He joins a growing number of parents who are grappling with the reality of their children being killed at school.
So far this year, there have been at least 67 school shootings nationwide.
As the shooting unfolded in St. Petersburg. Michigan Attorney Louise, who just heard the guilty plea of a teen who killed four students last fall, said she was no longer shocked by another school shooting.
“The fact that there’s another school shooting doesn’t surprise me — it’s horrific,” Oakland County Attorney Karen McDonald said.
“We need to let the public know and inform the public … how we can prevent gun violence. It’s preventable and we should never make it something we should live with.”
The boy’s father, Bell, said he was trying to find answers about what happened.
“I’m curious to know: How did that person get into the school?” he told KSDK.
Authorities said the door was locked. But St. The St. Louis police chief declined to elaborate on how the gunman got in.
“I don’t want to make it so easy for anyone else,” Sack said.
Sack said the gunman entered the school without concealing his weapon.
“When he came in, it was out … there was no mystery about what was going to happen,” the commissioner said. “He took it out and went in in an aggressive, violent way.”
The school’s principal came over via walkie-talkie and used the passphrase “Miles Davis is in the building” to let staff know there was an active shooter in the building, Faulstich said.
“I immediately locked the door calmly and turned off the light,” the teacher said. “Then I turned to my kids and told everyone to go to the corner.”
Within a minute of locking her second-floor classroom door, Faulstich said, someone began “shoving the handle violently, trying to get in.”
“I absolutely applaud my students’ response,” Forstic said. “Even the moment they heard gunshots around, they stood still, and I know they did it for each other’s safety.”
Adrienne Bolden, a freshman at the school, told KSDK that the students thought the school was doing drills — until they heard the siren and noticed that their teachers were scared.
“Teacher, she crawled over and she was asking for help to move the locker to the door so they couldn’t get in,” Bolden said. “We started to hear glass breaking outside and gunfire outside the door.”
Sophomore Brian Collins, 15, suffered gunshot wounds to his hand and jaw. His mother, Von Dina Washington, said he escaped by jumping from a classroom window onto a ledge.
“He told me they heard the gunman’s call on the walkie-talkie, so everyone in the class hid,” Washington said. The gunman then entered the classroom and fired several shots before leaving, according to her son.
After the gunman left the classroom on the third floor, Washington said another student opened the classroom window and some of them jumped.
Brian’s hands were numb and some fingers of his right hand were difficult to move.
“He was really good at drawing,” Washington said. “He went to CVPA to study visual arts and we hope he can paint again.”
Math teacher David Williams told CNN that everyone went into “training mode,” turning off the lights, locking the doors, and cramming into corners so they couldn’t see.
He said he heard someone try to open the door and a man shouted: “You’re all dying.”
Soon after, a bullet went through a window in his classroom, Williams said.
His classroom was on the third floor, where Sack said police engaged the gunman.
Eventually, an officer said she was outside and the class ran out through a nearby emergency door.
Security guards were at the school when the gunman arrived, St. George Sells, director of communications for St. Louis Public Schools.
“We had seven staff working in the building and they did a fantastic job and the alarm went off pretty quickly,” Sells said.
The commissioner did say the locked school gate may have delayed the shooter.
“Schools are closed and doors are locked,” Sack told CNN affiliate KMOV. “Security staff did an excellent job of identifying the efforts of the suspect to get in and immediately notified the rest of the staff and made sure to get in touch with us.”
Sack said response officials in St. Petersburg came after widespread controversy over the slow response to confrontations with school gunmen in Uwald, Texas, and Parkland, Florida. Louis immediately rushed into the school to stop the gunman.
“No sidewalk meetings. No discussions,” Sack said. “No, ‘Hey, where are you going?’ They went right in.”
According to the timetable provided by the commissioner, a call was received about 9:11 a.m. about an active shooter at the high school.
Police arrived on the scene and entered four minutes later.
Two minutes after officers located the gunman at 9:23 a.m. and began “a shootout with him,” officers reported that the suspect had fallen to the ground.
Asked about the eight minutes between an officer’s arrival and contact with the gunman, Sack said “eight minutes is not very long,” with officers having to travel through a large school with few entrances, students and work being evacuated personnel. .
Sack said police “discovered the suspect not only by hearing gunshots, but also by talking to children and teachers as they left.”
When calls came from people hiding in various locations, officers dispersed, looking for students and staff to escort them out of the building.
Police officers who attended a colleague’s funeral at a church across the street also responded to the shooting, the commissioner said.
The SWAT team that was training together was also able to quickly load up and arrive at the school to do a secondary cleaning of the building, Sack said.
Some officers were ‘off duty’; some were wearing T-shirts, but they were wearing (bullet-proof) vests,” the commissioner said. “They did a fantastic job. ”
correct: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong age for Alexander Bell, 15, who was killed in the shooting.