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25 Oct, 2022 02:11

School shooting leaves multiple casualties

St. Louis police responded to the school within minutes and neutralized the suspect
School shooting leaves multiple casualties

A teenage student and an adult teacher were killed after a gunman opened fire at a St. Louis, Missouri high school, prompting a brief shootout with police before the attacker was shot dead. Seven others were wounded during the shooting. 

The assailant, since identified as 19-year-old Orlando Harris, entered Central Visual and Performing Arts High School just after 9am on Monday morning armed with a rifle, according to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police. A call for an active shooter came just moments later, when Harris began firing, sending panicked students fleeing from the building. 

Local officials said officers “quickly” responded and stopped the attack, with a police timeline showing that officers arrived around 9:15am, engaged the suspect in a firefight at 9:23am, and shot him dead just two minutes later. By 9:52am, the building had been fully cleared.

The doors to the school are usually locked, officials said, leaving it unclear how the gunman gained access.

A 16-year-old girl was pronounced dead at the scene, while a 61-year-old woman – later identified as teacher Jean Kirk Kuczka – was brought to hospital for treatment but succumbed to her injuries. Seven other victims aged between 15 and 16 were also wounded in the incident, including four who were shot and others who sustained broken bones or lighter injuries.

Harris graduated from Central Visual and Performing Arts High School last year, but police have yet to identify any motive for the attack.

Federal agents are reportedly assisting the police probe, with FBI and ATF personnel seen surrounding a south St. Louis home for “hours” later on Monday afternoon, according to a local CBS affiliate. Agents removed “totes of evidence” and a computer from the residence, though officials have offered few details about the investigation.

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