ST. LOUIS – A gunman killed two people and injured several others Monday morning in a shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School before he later died in an exchange of gunfire with police.

Central Visual and Performing Arts High School is a magnet high school in south St. Louis City through the St. Louis Public Schools District. It is located in the 3000 block of South Kingshighway Boulevard on the outskirts of several neighborhoods.

According to the SLPS district website, Central Visual and Performing Arts High School is fully accredited through the Missouri Department of Education. It was also Missouri’s first school accredited through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Higher Learning Commission in 1904, a distinction it now carried through AdvancED.

The institution opened in 1853 off of 15th and Olive Streets, then known as Central High School. Historians say it opened as the first co-ed high school in St. Louis. The site has since moved several times, once after behind struck by a tornado in 1927. Central High School officially merged with Visual and Performing Arts High School in 1984 under the umbrella of one magnet school.

According to the most recent handbook online through CVPA, students have a chance to graduate with coursework geared toward one of three majors…

  • Visual art (ceramics, drawing and painting, multimedia design)
  • Musical art (instrumental and vocal)
  • Performing art (dance and theater)

Students are also required to take courses in math, English, science, social studies and other subjects as required by Missouri law.

According to the Missouri State High School Activities Association, the high school offers seven different sports, in addition to musical activities, speech, debate and theater. Around 400 students were enrolled in the school in 2021.

An investigation remains ongoing into what unfolded at the high school Monday. Police disclosed some new information Tuesday about the shooting at the site, including a note that hinted at the suspect’s mental health struggles and information on the weapon used in the shooting.