St. The gun used in the Louis school shooting was taken to the gunman days before the attack, police said




CNN

St. The AR-15-style rifle used in the deadly school shooting in St. Louis was taken from the shooter in a domestic dispute just days before the attack, and it’s unclear how he got it, police said.

Orlando Harris, 19, was shot on Monday, He injured student Alexandria Bell, 15, and teacher Jean Kuczka, 61, and several others at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School. Harris later died at a hospital after a shootout with officers at the school.

Before the shooting, his family contacted St. Louis police to have a firearm removed, St. Louis Police Commissioner Michael Sack said at a news conference Wednesday. “At that time my mother wanted me out of the house,” he added.

Police responded to a domestic disturbance on Oct. 15, nine days before Monday’s shooting, according to a police statement Wednesday night.

“Officers responded and at that time determined that the suspect was authorized to possess the firearm,” reads the statement obtained by CNN affiliate KMOV. “A third party known to the family was contacted and took possession of the firearm so that it was not kept in the home.”

Police confirmed Wednesday night that the gun taken from the home that day was the rifle used in the school shooting.

“How he got it after that … we don’t know,” Sack said. “We’re looking into that.”

The firearm has a serial number, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is working to track it, Sack said.

The teenager’s family was worried about him. In addition to trying to get rid of the firearm, so did they He stayed in a mental health facility, searched his room, tracked his mail and tried to make sure he was interacting with people and feeling loved, Sack said.

“They made every effort they reasonably thought they could make,” Sack said. “I think that’s why mom is so heartbroken with the families who paid her share.”

The gunman, who graduated from the same school last year, “forced his way into the school” with a rifle and a large amount of ammunition, some strapped to his chest, Sack said.

The shooting left the building riddled with bullets and turned a normal Monday at the school into a normal Monday as terrified students and teachers locked doors, huddled in corners and jumped out windows for their lives as the sound of gunfire echoed through the hallways.

After the attack, FBI investigators found a letter and a notebook in the car Harris drove to school.

“The school was the goal,” Sack said. “There was a disconnect between him and what he felt was the other school community. He felt alone and isolated.”

There were seven security personnel at the school when the gunman arrived, but the shooter did not enter through the manned checkpoint, said DeAndre Davis, director of safety and security at Saint Louis Public Schools.

“He had to force an inbound and that’s good for us because that buys us time,” Sack said Wednesday.

Officers were at the schools four minutes after the active shooter was reported, and eight minutes after that they were dealing with the gunman, according to Sack.

The police commissioner has repeatedly credited the police’s quick response, locked doors and advance training to prevent more deaths.

Authorities thanked students for following teachers’ instructions and locking their doors after being warned of the threat on campus.

“We’ve had teenagers and athletes – they don’t always listen – but they sure did on Monday,” Sack said. “Their teachers did what they were told, the officers do what they were told, despite the fact that many of them were traumatized. You can see their faces, you can read them in their eyes.’

Law enforcement investigates the scene of a shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in St. Louis.

Students and teachers locked the classroom doors and barricaded themselves after hearing a coded message over the intercom.

The gunman managed to get into Jean Kuczka’s Health classroom, where he and his students were gathered.

Student Keyshawn Brooks told CNN affiliate KSDK that he saw the shooter force his way into his classroom and shoot his teacher.

“The door to our room was shot and a man opened the door and said, ‘You’re all going to die today,'” Brooks said.

“He shot the teacher first. He fell to the ground. Another boy was shot in the hand and was bleeding. Two other girls were shot,” Brooks said. “When she left the room, we opened the window and jumped out.”

Student Alex Macias described looking the gunman in the eye after Kuczka was shot.

“He shot Ms. Kuczka, and I closed my eyes,” he said. “I didn’t want to see anything else. But then as I thought he was going to leave, I opened my eyes to see him standing there making eye contact with me. And then, after making eye contact, he walked away.

The students then started jumping out of the window, he said.

Teacher Kristie Faulstich said Kuczka died by putting herself between the gunfire and the students. He described his former colleague as a popular teacher who was loved by many.

Authorities are considering making it more difficult to break into classrooms, the police commissioner said.

As the investigation continues and as students and faculty mourn Kuczka and Bell, it could be two months before they are allowed to return to campus, school officials said.