St. Louis high school at site of shooting cancels classes for rest of week
ST. LOUIS (KMIZ)
On Tuesday most St. Louis schools are back in session, except for Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, where a shooting occurred.
The building is closed and no classes will be held for the rest of the week. Classes are expected to be done remotely as early as next week. Renovations are needed for the building -- due to the amount of damage from bullets -- and are expected to start soon.
A student and a teacher -- Jean Kuczka -- died in the shooting. St. Louis Metro Police fatally shot the gunman, 19-year-old Orlando Harris. Police say seven others were sent to the hospital with injuries.
This shooting happened between 8:50-9:20 a.m. Monday. The school says there were seven security officers on campus and all doors were locked. Police have not revealed how the shooter got into the school.
The school revealed a timeline of events on Tuesday:
8:50 a.m. - Lockdown call at Central Community College
9:10 a.m. – Active-shooter drill in effect at Central Visual Performing Arts High School
9:15 a.m. - Police arrive on scene.
9:20 a.m. - Police engaged and shoot suspect, threat ended.
9:20-9:30 a.m. - Students evacuated from building.
9:49 a.m. - Buses arrive to bring students to safe space.
10 a.m. - Students were vetted.
10:27 a.m. - Tower Grove Park called to inform school some students had run to the park.
10:27 a.m. - Students transported to Gateway STEM High School for reunification.
11:07 a.m. - Press release sent out.
Police shared an excerpt from a hand-written document they found in Harris' car.
“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,” the note said.
Police say Harris had an AR-15-style rifle, and Police Commissioner Michael Sack said it was missing pieces, which he said was strange. They estimate Harris brought 600 rounds of ammunition.
A spokesperson for St. Louis Public Schools tells ABC 17 the district is, "working with police and our families this morning to make a decision on [when to reopen]. At least today, obviously."
Brady Grossman, a student at the school, said active-shooter drills may have saved some lives.
"I'm a firm believer that there would've been a lot more causalities and more injuries if it wasn't for those same drills we had," Grossman said. "Just telling us in training where to hide, how to hide, what to do, how to be quiet, all this just helps so much, and just knowing where to get how to get out as fast as you can all in an orderly fashion just helped everything so much."
The shooter graduated from Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in 2021.
One graduate of the school, Blue Petty, had classes with Harris. Petty said Harris was a little "off and quiet," and remembers times when Harris joked about school shootings.
"There was one point where we had an active-shooter drill in history class and a lot of people were laughing about it, joking about it," Petty said. "He was laughing about it, thought it was pretty funny that we were huddled up in the corner and there was someone pulling on the door knobs to make sure that they were working right.
"And there were a few times that he joked about shooting up the school in like passing conversations like at lunch or something."
A vigil was held Monday evening for the school and victims at Tower Grove Park, across the street from the school. At least 100 attendees arrived.
Central Visual and Perming Arts High School sophomore Alex Macias spoke to the crowd. She said she is shocked and still processing everything that happened.
"I'm feeling a little numb," Macias said. "I am just desensitized because I've been feeling so awful all day."
Macias was in the room when her health teacher, Kuczka, was fatally shot.
"I didn't really see her being shot but I heard a lot of gunshots. I had closed my eyes and when I opened my eyes she was laying there," Macias said. "I made eye contact with him and I thought at that moment like this is my life flashed before my eyes."