A community in St. Louis was devastated yesterday after a gunman opened fire in a St. Louis high school, killing a teacher and a student and injuring seven others.
According to USA Today, the gunman, who has been identified as 19-year-old Orlando Harris, shot and killed 15-year-old Alexandria Bell and 61-year-old Jean Kuczka in a classroom at the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in south St. Louis. Police say the shooter was armed with a long gun and nearly a dozen high-capacity magazines. Harris would later die at the hospital from gunshot wounds after his stand-off with officers on the scene. Seven other students were injured during the tragic innocent but were all in stable condition.
Police have yet to release a motive for the shooter or any answers to how the gunman may have gained access to the school. School officials have said the doors were locked, but Harris was still able to get into the building with guns. Commissioner Michael Sack declined to give specifics but said the situation could have been much worse.
“This could have been much worse,” Sack told CNN. “The individual had almost a dozen 30-round high-capacity magazines on him. That’s a whole lot of victims there.”
But for the father of Alexandria Bell, the 15-year-old Black girl who was tragically killed, the commissioner’s words ring hollow. Andre Bell and his family will now have to pick up the pieces after senseless gun violence took Alexandria’s young beautiful life.
He also said his daughter was an outgoing teenager who loved to dance.
“She was the girl I loved to see and loved to hear from,” said Bell. “No matter how I felt, I could always talk to her and it was alright. That was my baby.”
Although Bell mourns, he still wants answers into how the gunman made his way into the school.
“I am so upset. I need somebody, police, community folks, somebody to make this make sense,” said Bell. “I really want to know how did that man get inside the school? I’m just trying to find some answers. My daughter was planning on coming out here to California and celebrate her birthday with me on Nov. 18, but now we have to plan her funeral.”
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said in a statement condemning gun violence and asking for prayers as the community grieves.
In a statement to NewsOne, Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. of Little Rock, Arkansas, and President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA) sent heartfelt prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the tragic school shooting.
“This is yet another shooting and another community reeling from a random and senseless act of gun violence said, Mayor Scott. “The violent attacks on our children throughout this country continue to grow. When will it end? Our children don’t even feel safe in their own schools anymore. The pain that is ravaging our communities must stop.”
According to Education Week, there have been forty school shootings so far in 2022, the most since the site began tracking in 2018.
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