The accused St. Louis school shooter was able to obtain the AR-15 he used in killing a 16-year-old student and a teacher after he’d had one taken away by police due to his mental health issue.
Orlando Harris, 19, who used an AR-15 style rifle in the attack, brought over 600 rounds of ammunition to the school, police said, adding that they also found a notebook detailing his desire to carry out the shooting.
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Interim Chief Michael Sack said during a news conference that Harris’ family was aware of the man’s mental health problems and not only got him therapy and had him committed ‘several’ times.
Sack added: ‘Sometimes that’s not enough.’ He did not explain how Harris was able to get a new AR-15 just months before the shooting or how he got past locked doors, security guards and metal detectors at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School.
He said: ‘I understand that that’s something everybody would like to know, but the reality is every building — a school, a business, a police headquarters — has weaknesses.’
Orlando Harris, 19, (pictured) who allegedly used an AR-15 style rifle in the St. Louis shooting on Monday, had left a chilling note describing himself as a loner before the shooting
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Interim Chief Michael Sack said during a news conference that Harris’ family was aware of the man’s mental health problems and not only got him therapy and had him committed ‘several’ times
A newly revealed video from the shooting shows students in a classroom huddled after the school principal used a code phrase on the loudspeaker to indicate a shooter was in the school
Sack, who clarified that Harris ‘did have to force entry,’ said revealing further details might hurt the school.
The numbers behind America’s school shooting epidemic
There have been more school shootings in 2022 than any other year on record. In the wake of yet another, this time in St. Louis, Missouri, here are some of the numbers behind the horrific problem plaguing America’s schools:
- 132 school shootings have occurred since 2018
- There have been 40 school shootings in 2022 that have resulted in injuries or death
- 122 people have been injured or killed in those shootings
- Of the 34 killed this year, 28 have been students or other children, and six have been school employees or other adults
- The worst school shooting this year was at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas
- The shooting in Uvalde left 19 children dead along with two teachers, while 16 others were injured
On Tuesday, it was revealed Harris left a chilling note describing himself as a loner before making his way through the building’s locked door and killing a student and teacher.
‘I don’t have any friends; I don’t have any family. I’ve never had a girlfriend; I’ve never had a social life. I’ve been an isolated loner my entire life. This was the perfect storm for a mass shooter,’ Harris wrote in the note.
Harrowing video shows the chaos that unfolded as students raced to escape a classroom at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School on Monday.
Police also found a note listing different school shooters across the country and how many they killed, along with a detailed map of the school.
He added he wanted to be the next national school shooter.
Harris dressed in all black and donned earplugs for the attack to preemptively protect his ears from the sound of gunshots.
The video from Monday shows students in a classroom huddled after the school principal used a code phrase on the loudspeaker to indicate a shooter was in the school.
The teacher in the room then says ‘lets go guys,’ before the students hurry for the exit while encouraging each other to ‘run!’
Jean Kuczka, 61, was a physical education teacher at the high school and her daughter, Abigail, has revealed her late mother previously worried about security after a student from another school brought a gun into the building last semester.
‘She mentioned that, but other than that, she didn’t really think anything’ of further concerns, said Abigail.
‘I mean, I think people think it will never happen to them,’ she added. ‘She loved her students. I know her students looked at her like she was their mom.’
The students waited until they were cleared to leave the classroom and then rushed into the hallway, where they are directed to the exit while telling each other to ‘run’
The students exit school and run into a parking lot, as one of them shouts ‘Oh, hell no’
Harris brought an AR-15 to school before reportedly shouting ‘you’re all going to f*****g die!’
He brought over a dozen magazines filled with 30 rounds each, and may have killed more but was reportedly halted by his gun jamming
15-year-old student Alexandria Bell was also killed in the shooting, while four other students were injured.
Alexandria’s family confirmed her death on social media, hours after her mother posted in a panic that she couldn’t find her.
Bell was pronounced dead at the scene, while Kuczka was transported to hospital before being pronounced dead.
Police reported others injured in the attack included three who sustained gunshot wounds, two in stable condition but one has been taken into surgery.
Cops have not revealed how Harris was able to gain entry into the building, and said there were seven security officers, metal detectors and the doors were locked.
St. Louis Police Chief Michael Sack said that Harris had no criminal history and his motive for the shooting remains unclear.
The situation unfolded when the principal of the school said a code phrase over the loudspeaker around 9am that means a shooter is inside the school.
Officers arrived at the scene just four minutes after receiving the call and engaged the shooter eight minutes after they arrived.
Harris had barricaded himself inside a classroom and fired out of it at officers before they breached the room and fatally shot the suspect.
Jean Kuczka, 61, was a physical education teacher at the high school and raised concerns over security concerns before being killed in the shooting
15-year-old Alexandria Bell was killed in the shooting, while four other students were injured
Michael Sack, the police chief, is seen on Monday briefing reporters after the shooting and said he would not discuss how Harris gained entry into the school
One of the victims of the shooting is seen being wheeled out of the school en route to the hospital
This was the scene outside of Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis on Monday morning after a gunman opened fire and killed two people
Students stand in a parking lot near the Central Visual & Performing Arts High School after a shooting at the school
It’s unclear who Harris bought the gun from, but ‘it’s on the seller to do their due diligence to make sure the buyer is eligible’ said Eli Pimpao, owner of Precision Works LLC, a small arms manufacturing company.
It’s unknown whether Harris had a gun license.
In a press conference on Monday, Sack said ‘As kids were fleeing out of the building, they talked to some of the kids who told them that there was a shooter armed with a long gun.’
After a reporter pressed the police commissioner on how the gunman entered, Sack responded: ‘We’re not going to talk about how the suspect gained entry.’
Taniya Gholston, 16, recalled being in the dance room when the attacker burst in.
She said she only survived because his gun jammed.
‘I was in the dance room. All I heard was two shots, I was trying to run and I couldn’t run. And me and him…
‘I’m glad I made it out because his gun got jammed,’ she said.
Messiah Miller, 16, center, a junior at Central Visual & Performing Arts High School, prays with his teacher Ray Parks, second from right, following a shooting at the school on Monday, in the Southwest Garden neighborhood. ‘He looked at me, he pointed the gun at me,’ Miller said
People embrace in the Schnucks Arsenal parking lot following a shooting at Central Visual Performing Arts High School in St. Louis on Monday
‘I think somebody got shot. We saw blood on the floor.’
A mother of a student at the school told DailyMail.com her daughter was in the school band with Harris.
‘She said he was quiet,’ the mother said. ‘He used to sit in the corner by himself. Very anti social.’
Congresswoman Cori Bush was also present at the press conference. The Democrat represents the district where St. Louis is located.
‘Today is one of those days, those days that we pray, we pray never happens across this country,’ Rep. Bush said.
‘We want to thank again our first responders, but we also want to thank those teachers and school staff and administrators that were in place and moving and ready,’ the congresswoman said.
Law enforcement investigate at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School on Monday
Law enforcement respond to the shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School
‘Those that were there to support the students and those that are there right now.’
Bush said that any families or victims ‘who don’t know who to talk to,’ can call her office, stating that the phone lines will be open for those who need help.
The shooting was initially confirmed by the Twitter account of St. Louis Public Schools.
‘Police are on site at Central Visual and Performing Arts this morning following reports of an active shooter and both CVPA and Collegiate are on lockdown,’ they said on Monday morning.
The post from the district says that the ‘shooter was quickly stopped by police inside CVPA.’
‘We will send information on where parents can reunite with students,’ the district said.