St. Louis school shooter carried ‘AR-15-style’ weapon and 600 rounds

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The shooter who killed two and injured seven others at a St. Louis high school this week used an AR-15-style rifle and carried more than 600 rounds of ammunition, a police official said Tuesday.

Orlando Harris, a 19-year-old former student of Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, had ammunition on a chest rig and in a bag, and dumped other magazines in a stairwell and corridors, interim St. Louis police commissioner Michael Sack said at a news conference.

“It doesn’t take long to burn through a magazine, as you’re looking down a long corridor or up or down a stairwell or into a classroom,” Sack said. “This could have been a horrific scene. It was not, by the grace of God and that the officers were as close as they were, ”he said.

Police received the initial call about an active shooter at 9:11 am, Sack told reporters Monday. Officers entered the school at 9:15 am and engaged Harris in a gunfight at 9:23 am He was shot about two minutes later, Sack said.

Sack also read from a handwritten document left by Harris: “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, “Harris wrote, adding that it was a” perfect storm for a mass shooter. “

Sack declined to comment on how and where Harris obtained the weapon. He has previously said that the school’s doors were locked before the shooting and that the school has metal detectors.

More than 320,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine

St. Louis officials also identified the two deceased victims: 61-year-old health and physical education teacher Jean Kuczka and 15-year-old student Alexzandria Bell.

Kuczka was a lifelong teacher who said she could not “imagine myself in any other career but teaching,” according to an online biography. “I love teaching Health and Physical Education and guiding students to make wise decisions. Respect is my favorite word! “

Kuczka, an avid bike rider, was a scholarship field hockey player at Missouri State University and a member of the school’s 1979 national championship team that was later inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. She leaves behind her husband, five children and seven grandchildren.

She died after putting herself between the gunman and her students to protect them, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Bell was a talented dancer, according to CNN. Her friends remembered her as a funny companion who “always kept the smile on her face and kept everybody laughing.”

Her father, Andre Bell, said she had an outgoing personality and was a member of her school’s junior varsity dance team. “No matter how I felt, I could always talk to her and it was all right. That was my baby, ”he said, according to KSDK.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones (D) said the shooting was indicative of the national “scourge of gun violence” that continues to claim the lives of children. “It’s a public health crisis that requires federal action.”

In 2020, Missouri had the fourth-highest death rate from firearms by population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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