MISSOURI ― A gunman opened fire at a St. Louis, Missouri, high school yesterday, killing two people and wounding six others before officers fatally shot the suspect, the city’s police commissioner said.
Students were fleeing the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School when police arrived at 9.10am (1410 GMT) to answer an active shooter call, Commissioner Mike Sack told a news conference.
The students told officers a shooter was inside with a “long gun,” Sack said. Police entered and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who appeared to be about 20 years old, fatally wounding him, he added.
A teacher and a teenage girl were killed, Sack said. The other victims suffered gunshot and shrapnel wounds. Among the dead was 61-year-old Jean Kuczka, a health teacher, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, citing relatives.
No officers were injured, Sack said.
“While on paper we might have nine victims … we have hundreds of others,” he said. “Everyone who survived this is going to take home trauma.”
Authorities did not disclose a motive or the suspect’s relation to the school.
The shooting was the latest of dozens in US schools that caused death or injuries this year alone. One of the deadliest took place in May when a gunman killed 19 children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas.
The doors had been locked at Central Visual, a magnet school attended by about 380 students, before the shooting, Sack said. Security staff identified how the suspect entered the building but he declined to say how the gunman got inside.
The high school had seven security officers on site and metal detectors, a school official told the news conference.
A math teacher, David Williams, told the Post-Dispatch that the school principal alerted staff and students over the audio system with the code phrase for a school shooter. He described hearing multiple shots outside his classroom, adding that a window in the classroom door was shot out.
In the Uvalde rampage in May, police and other law enforcement officers were castigated for waiting more than an hour before confronting the shooter, who was locked in a classroom with students and teachers. The suspect in that case entered the school building through an unlocked door. ― Reuters