Missouri high school shooting: 2 dead including student and teacher as teen opens fire, gunman killed

Missouri high school shooting: 2 dead including student and teacher as teen opens fire, gunman killed
The shooting took place at Central Visual & Performing Arts High School in Missouri on Monday, October 24 (Central Visual And Performing Arts High School/Facebook and @russellkinsaul/Twitter video screenshot)

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI: Two people died and several others were injured after a gunman opened fire at a high school in St Louis, Missouri. Gunman Orlando Harris, who was a 19-year-old former student of the school, entered Central Visual & Performing Arts High School on Monday, October 24, and began shooting. The doors of the school building were locked and it is unclear how he entered.

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According to witnesses, Harris' weapon jammed mid-attack. St Louis Public Schools said cops were able to "quickly" stop the suspect by gunning him down. He exchanged gunfire with police and later succumbed to his injuries

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Student Alexis Bell, 16, was pronounced dead at the scene and a 61-year-old physical education teacher Jean Kuczk later died at the hospital. A chilling video posted to TikTok shows students hiding under desks as gunshots ring outside the classroom. 

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The city's police commissioner Michael Sack said students were running out of the school when officers arrived. Harris, he said, had a "long gun". Seven security workers who were on the site acted quickly and notified other staff, and contacted the police, he said. "This is a heart-breaking day for all of us," he said, according to BBC. FBI agents are now assisting in the investigation.

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Student Taniya Gholston, 16, told the St Louis Post-Dispatch that Harris entered a classroom she was in and tried to shoot her. "I was trying to run and I couldn't run," she said. "Me and him made eye contact but I made it out because his gun got jammed." She also said she heard the attacker saying, "I'm tired of this damn school."

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Victim Jean Kuczka had taught at the school since 2008. She was a grandmother of seven. "My mom loved kids," her daughter Abigail Kuczk said, adding that she died protecting the children. People who were injured are said to be suffering from gunshot wounds, shrapnel injuries and cardiac arrest.

Meanwhile, St Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said at a news conference following the shooting, "Our children shouldn't have to experience this." Jones added, "They shouldn't have to go through active shooter drills in case something happens. And unfortunately, that happened today." Reportedly, there have been at least 5 school shootings so far this year, in which at least one person was killed or injured. 

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