Gun used in deadly St. Louis school shooting was previously removed from suspect’s home, police say

Written by on October 27, 2022

The gun utilized by a former pupil who opened hearth Monday at a St. Louis highschool was beforehand faraway from his dwelling on the request of his mom, authorities mentioned.

On Oct. 15, greater than per week earlier than a trainer and a pupil had been killed within the capturing at Central Visible and Performing Arts Excessive Faculty, St. Louis police acquired a name for a “home disturbance” on the suspect’s dwelling, in response to a Wednesday assertion from the division.

The suspect’s mom discovered an AR-15-style rifle within the household’s dwelling and contacted St. Louis police to have it eliminated, interim St. Louis police Commissioner Michael Sack said at a Wednesday news conference.

Police “decided at the moment the suspect was lawfully permitted to own the firearm,” in response to the assertion. The household labored with police to switch the gun to a 3rd get together identified to the household, Sack mentioned.

The firearm that was eliminated was the identical one utilized in Monday’s capturing that left two folks useless and 7 others injured, police confirmed within the assertion.

“The mom needed it out of the home, so that they facilitated it,” Sack mentioned. “…How he acquired it after that, we don’t know. We’re trying into it.”

Whereas the suspected gunman’s household was “conscious” he had obtained the gun, it was unclear when and the way he received it, Sack mentioned, including that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating the gun sale. Police recognized the suspect as Orlando Harris, 19.

Household cooperating with investigation, police official says

The suspect’s mom “has been absolutely cooperative” within the investigation into the capturing at Central Visible and Performing Arts Excessive Faculty and is “heartbroken for the households on this incident, for the faculty and the alumni,” Sack mentioned Wednesday.

An investigator who interviewed the mom and her grownup daughter Wednesday mentioned the household was conscious of the suspect’s psychological well being points and “seems to have performed all the pieces they might have presumably performed to attempt to assist,” together with monitoring his mail and getting him again into remedy and on remedy, Sack mentioned.

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Threats spike after capturing

St. Louis space faculties have seen a spike in threats following the capturing, a typical prevalence after faculty shootings, Jay Greenberg, particular agent accountable for the St. Louis area workplace of the FBI, mentioned on the information convention.

Greenberg mentioned these threats are “sometimes simple to analyze” and police are capable of shortly discover who’s making them. However due to the amount of the threats, authorities have elevated police presence in faculties throughout the St. Louis metro space as a precaution.

Whereas Greenberg mentioned he doesn’t imagine there are any credible threats at the moment, he worries about them “resulting in further trauma for our college students.”

Who had been the victims?

Officers and members of the family recognized the victims as Barbara Kuczka, 61, and Alexzandria Bell, 15.

Kuczka, a well being trainer at Central Visible and Performing Arts Excessive Faculty, realized she needed to be a trainer in highschool when she taught swimming classes on the YMCA, according to her teacher biograph on the school’s website.

Kuczka graduated in 1979 from Lindbergh Excessive Faculty in St. Louis, the place she was a area hockey star, and attended Southwest Missouri State College, now often known as Missouri State, on a area hockey scholarship, in response to the bio.

Kuczka lived in Dittmer, Missouri together with her husband. She had 5 youngsters and 7 grandchildren.

Alexzandria was trying ahead to a visit to Los Angeles to have a good time her Candy 16 earlier than she died, her father, Andre Bell, told CNN affiliate KSDK.

Her father mentioned Alexzandria was a member of the Saint Louis Dazzling Diamonds dance group. She was humorous, joyful and at all times made different folks’s days higher, he mentioned.

“Regardless of how I felt, I may at all times discuss to her, and it was alright,” Bell mentioned. “That was my child.”

Contact Information Now Reporter Christine Fernando at or observe her on Twitter at @christinetfern.

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