ST. LOUIS – St. Louis education officials and educators reflected on what happened Monday in a deadly shooting Monday at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, some sending emotional messages on how to move forward.

A 19-year-old gunman, Orlando Harris, killed two people Monday morning in a shooting at the south city school. Police later shot and killed Harris, who hurt several others in the incident.

Matt Davis, president of the Board of Education for the City of St. Louis, says he is angered that the situation left two dead and several others injured.

“We begin to try to make sense of this, to try to heal, to try to learn and see how we can ever stop this from happening again,” said Davis. “This is a trend that must stop.”

Longtime teacher Jean Kuczka, 61, and student Alexandria Bell, 15, died after Harris entered the school. Several officers then exchanged gunfire with Harris and fatally shot him.

The school’s principal, Dr. Kacy Seals-Shahid, knew both of the victims and talked extensively about them during the news conference.

She said Bell loved dancing, and it was a passion for her. Seals-Shahid described her as “a beautiful person.” She said Bell was high-spirited and a person who got along with everyone.

Seals-Shahid said the teacher was one of her biggest supporters at the school when she first arrived. Seals-Shahid said Kuczka would do anything she could for her students. The teacher was someone students could turn to at any time, no matter the issue.

“One of the hardest things, people keep saying the district did everything right,” said Davis. “Yet, we’re still left with tragedy.”

Harris was a graduate of CVPA and had no prior criminal history. While the exact motive has not yet been determined, police presented some documents Tuesday that may have hinted toward mental health struggles. That included a handwritten note that read, in part, “I’ve been an isolated loner my entire life. This was the perfect storm for a mass shooter.”

Davis says, while training has increased and teachers have been asked to do more, something else needs to change to prevent such tragedies.

“A safe space, a sacred place for our childhood, and it’s been taken away from our kids in this city. We have got to do better,” said Davis. “I hope, I beg that we learn a lesson, that we do something to help people suffering from mental illness. … And that we find a away to get these weapons off the streets and, for the love of God, out of our schools.”

Dr. Kelvin Adams with the St. Louis Public Schools District says that neither CVPA of the Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience will have classes for the rest of the week. Students and staff will be allowed to retrieve belongings, though access to the building will be limited to select staff members. Virtual instruction will begin next Monday for an undisclosed amount of time.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to take place in the building, so the building will not be available to students or staff other than to retrieve belongings,” said Dr. Adams. “It is highly likely the building won’t be occupied for the next several weeks until we’re able to do the renovations necessary to put the building back in a position students can possibly enter the building again.”

Investigators say Harris entered the building with an AR-15 rifle and more than 600 rounds of ammunition. That included seven magazines of ammunition on a chest rig he wore and eight magazines of ammunition in a field bag he carried. DeAndre Davis, Director of Safety and Security for St. Louis Public Schools, says Harris did not enter the school through a checkpoint.

In a previous news conference Tuesday with St. Louis Police, officials noted the St. Louis Public Schools district has activated new resources for mental health since Monday and is also working on a long-term plan.

Dr. Kacy Seals Shahid and Frederick Steele, principals of CVPA and CSMB, sent their condolences to the victims and their families.

“We will get through this together, with the support of one another,” said Shahid. “We don’t know what we need right now today, it will be one day at a time.”

“We are two school communities with the distinct missions, but share the same campus. We’re neighbors, and we’re friends,” said Steele. “We had to go through two tragedies yesterday together.”

“We’re collaborating with our community partners, as well as the mayor’s office and U.S. Department of Education,” said Dr. Michael Brown, deputy superintendent of student support services for SLPS. “We’re working to come up with a next-steps, long-term plan.”

In light of recent events, people are encouraged people to call the Behavioral Health Response’s 24/7 hotline at 314-469-6644 or text “Be Heard” to 31658 if in need of any additional mental health resources in the St. Louis region.