ST. LOUIS – Tuesday morning, our hearts are heavy across the region as we cope with a school shooting that leaves both the victims of violence and emotional trauma.
All St. Louis Public Schools will open Tuesday, except Central Visual and Performing Arts and the Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience.
A memorial is one of many ways people are remembering the lives of 61-year-old health and PE teacher Jean Kuczka and the teenage girl shot and killed at the south St. Louis high school.
Three people are dead Tuesday morning, including the shooter, Orlando Harris. The first 911 call came in around 9:11 a.m. Central Visual and Performing Arts High School was locked.
While that didn’t stop the shooter, police said it slowed him down. The shooter pulled up to the side entrance and broke his way inside, then he headed up to the third floor.
St. Louis Police arrived within minutes. They followed the sound of gunfire from what they described as a long-gun. As they searched for where those gunshots were coming from, hundreds of students left the school in all different directions.
Some leaped over fences to escape – one student reportedly broke their ankle jumping out a third-floor window. Police killed the suspect in a shootout inside, two minutes after tracking him down in the school. A lot of students stayed locked inside their classrooms.
Alex Macias came face-to-face with the gunman as he shot his way into her health teacher Jean Kuczka’s classroom. We spoke with Macias Monday night at a candlelight vigil in Tower Grove Park.
“Me and my friend were hiding in the corner, and people were looking at us like we were being overdramatic,” Macias revealed. “We heard the gunshots, and we were all like piled up on top of each other, and the boy in front of me got shot. I’m pretty sure he’s still okay, but after the shooter left, I made eye contact with him and I thought at that moment this is it. My life flashed before my eyes.”
Again, classes are cancelled Tuesday at Central VPA High School and at the Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience. All other St. Louis public schools are open. Counseling and trauma services are available to anyone who needs them. Just reach out to your school directly, or go to your school’s website.