A teenager and an adult were killed in a filming Monday morning at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis, Police Commissioner Michael Sack said.
Officers arrived at the school four minutes after the first 911 call and it took them eight minutes to locate the shooter. After a two-minute shootout, the suspect was reported, Sack told reporters at a news conference.
Authorities did not immediately identify the victims, but Sack said a 61-year-old woman was pronounced dead at a hospital and a 16-year-old girl was killed at the scene.
The commissioner identified the shooter as Orlando Harris, a 19-year-old who graduated from school last year. He died in a hospital, Sack said.
Authorities are “struggling to try to find out what could have led him to this. There are suspicions there might be a mental illness he was suffering from. We are currently working on developing this information,” Sack said.
The shooter had no criminal history.
Seven other teenagers were injured and went to hospital, Sack said. Some had gunshot or scrape wounds and others had abrasions. One had a fractured ankle. They are all in stable conditions, the commissioner said.
The commissioner said the shooter had a long gun and a dozen 30-round ammunition magazines with him.
Sack wouldn’t say how the shooter got into the school, but said the school doors were locked, which delayed the suspect and bought responders time.
“Security personnel did an outstanding job identifying the suspect’s efforts to gain entry and immediately notified other personnel and ensured we were contacted,” Sack said.
The Metropolitan Police Department of St. Louis Police reported the active shooter on Twitter, and approximately 45 minutes later tweeted, “At this time the scene is secure and there are no active threats.
The school district is devastated after Monday’s shooting, he said in a statement. CVPA and two nearby schools were evacuated to a reunification location, St. Louis Public Schools said.
Talk on the phone, Math teacher David Williams said the gunshots erupted shortly after 9 a.m. local time (10 a.m. ET) and everyone went into “exercise mode”, turning off the lights, locking the doors and huddled together in the corners so as not to be seen.
There was a knock on the door, and it shook, he said. “Someone was trying to open the door,” Williams said.
Sirens emerged in the distance, and then Williams heard three gunshots, he said. Someone with an adult voice could be heard shouting, “You’re all going to die,” he recalled.
Shortly after, a bullet went through one of the windows in her classroom, Williams said.
The gunfire accelerated, he said.
Around that time, officers from the tactical teams arrived – a large group of them, well organized – and there was another round of gunfire before Williams heard a woman speak. advertise as a policewoman, he said.
Williams and the students ran for an emergency exit, he said, adding that the ordeal lasted about 40 minutes.
Police hired the shooter on the third floor, where Williams’ classroom is, Sack said.
St. Louis circuit attorney Kimberly M. Gardner said many people responded as trained to help prevent others from being harmed.
“The situation continues to evolve and we will know more in the coming days, but one thing is clear and that the lockdown procedures – that administrators, teachers and students at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School and first responders followed. as this attack unfolded – were critical to preventing further violence,” Gardner said.
The high school of about 400 students is a magnet school about 6 miles southwest of downtown.
Students were being evacuated from campus “to safe and secure sites,” the district said. People are being asked to avoid the area and parents have been told they can pick up their children from Gateway Stem High School, about a mile and a half north of CVPA.
News of the shooting comes the same day Michigan teenager Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty to murder charges in a Michigan school shooting last year that left four dead and seven injured. On November 1, Nikolas Cruz will be sentenced for the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where 17 people died.
As the survey of the St,. As the shooting of Louis unfolded, a Michigan prosecutor addressed gun violence in the country following Crumbley’s guilty plea.
“It’s not just about sharing with other departments. Gun violence is preventable. That’s what I learned, and it doesn’t surprise me that there’s another shooting at a school, which is horrific,” Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald said. “It’s preventable, and we should never, ever allow it to be something we just have to live with.”
During a press conference at the White House, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called on Congress to act and pass a ban on assault weapons.
“Our hearts go out to everyone affected by today’s senseless violence, especially the injured and killed, their families and first responders,” she said. “We need more action to stop the scourge of gun violence.
“Every day the Senate fails to send an assault weapons ban to the President’s office, or waits to take another – further common sense actions are a day too late for our affected families and communities. by armed violence.”
The FBI field office in St. Louis is helping local law enforcement respond to the shooting, spokeswoman Rebecca Wu said. Kansas City, Missouri, Explosives Department is also assisting, spokesman John Ham said in a statement.