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Mental Illness Suspected In St. Louis School Shooting Where Two Died

An armed former student broke into a St. Louis high school warning, “You are all going to die!” before fatally shooting a teacher and a teenage girl, and wounding seven others before police killed him, the Associated Press reports. The attack at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School forced students to barricade doors and huddle in classroom corners, jump from windows and run out of the building. Police Commissioner Michael Sack identified the shooter as Orlando Harris, 19, who graduated from the school last year. Sack said “there’s suspicions that there may be some mental illness that he’s experiencing.” The incident was one of 581 mass shootings this year where at least four people have been shot, not including the shooter, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

The dead teacher was Jean Kuczka, who was killed when the gunman burst into her classroom and she moved between him and her students. The other fatality was a 16-year-old female who died at the school. Seven other 15- and 16-year-old students, four boys and three girls, were all in stable condition. Sack declined to say how Harris was able to get into the building, which has security guards, locked doors and metal detectors. “If there’s somebody who has a will, they’re going to figure out, we don’t want to make it easy for them,” Sack said. “We just got to do the best we can to extend that time it takes them to get into the building to buy us time to respond.” Sack said Harris had the gun out when he arrived at the school and “there was no mystery about what was going to happen. He had it out and entered in an aggressive, violent manner.” Harris had nearly a dozen high-capacity magazines of ammunition with him. St. Louis Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams said seven security guards were in the school at the time of the attack, each stationed at an entrance of the locked building.


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