ST. LOUIS – Three are dead, including the shooter, after a south St. Louis High School shooting Monday morning.
It happened at the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School on Kingshighway and Arsenal, where police say a shooter pulled right up to a side door and broke his way in with a long gun.
A student shared audio of the shooting with FOX 2. You could hear a whisper of “Oh my God,’ from Zariah Taylor, in the midst of the gunfire.
“I held onto my Jesus piece and I prayed because there was nothing else I could do but pray, Taylor said.
She was on the third floor, where police say the shooting began at about 9:10 a.m. Taylor along with other students was barricaded inside a counselor’s office.
The full recording is over four minutes long, and fire alarms go off repeatedly. Students told our reporter that the alarms worried them. It wasn’t clear if they were triggered by the shooting or if they were a trick by the suspect. The students were worried that the shooter was trying to get them out of the rooms.
“I put my phone down, and I was looking for something to defend myself, but the gunshots were coming too close,” Taylor said.
The students decided to stay put and were thankful to see the police when they arrived. The students in that room are thankful to be alive and reunited with their parents.
Taylor reunited with her mother, ZaChere Stringfellow, out front.
“Now that it’s hit home for me – for all of these school shootings that I have seen on TV. It’s, it’s unreal,” Stringfellow said.
FOX 2’s Bommarito Automotive Group SkyFOX captured hundreds of other students leaving, frantically looking for their parents. Police were also seen running from the building. Officers were helping students scale fences and buildings in order to escape.
St. Louis Police Chief Michael Sack said, “As kids were fleeing out the building, they talked to some of the kids, who told them there was a shooter armed with a long gun.”
Police say three died, including the shooter. Seven others went to hospitals for related injuries. One student reportedly broke his ankle jumping from a third floor window.
Chief Sack described how officers followed their ears.
“Upon hearing gunfire, they ran to that gunfire, located the shooter and engaged that shooter in the exchange of gunfire. The suspect was struck and transported from this location, and that suspect has since been pronounced deceased.”
Dozens of St. Louis police vehicles surrounded the high school. ATF and FBI also responded to the scene.
Investigators determined the shooter drove a blue Dodge sedan right up to where he entered, a side door that was locked. Police say that slowed the shooter, and that one of seven working security staff noticed someone trying to get in and raised an early alarm.
Stringfellow said she was thankful to see such a quick response. “The police,” she said, “…they got here. A flood of police officers.”
Mother and daughter, thankful to be together. Taylor’s camera phone continued recording as she ran out, uncertain what was outside.
It is still not clear why the gunman opened fire inside.