St. Louis High School Shooter Identified as Former Student

Police say gunman graduated last year, didn't have criminal record
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2022 6:25 PM CDT
Cops: St. Louis School Shooter Was Former Student
The outside of Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis, on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022.   (AP Photo/Michael Phillis)

The gunman who killed a teacher and a 16-year-old girl at a St. Louis high school before he was killed by police Monday has been identified as Orlando Harris, a 19-year-old former student. Harris graduated from Central Visual and Performing Arts High School last year, and one survivor heard him say he was "tired of everybody" in the school during Monday's attack, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Police say he had no criminal record, and it's not clear how he got inside the school, which has seven security officers. St. Louis Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams said there was a guard at each entrance of the locked building, and one guard notified authorities when he saw the gunman trying to get in, the AP reports.

Police Chief Michael Sack said the guard's "timely response" bought police time to confront the suspect before more people were killed. The chief said he was "extremely proud" of officers who went toward the sound of gunfire without hesitation and exchanged fire with the gunman. "This could have been much worse," said the chief. He said the gunman was armed with a long gun and had a dozen 30-round magazines. Police have not released victims' names, but relatives of the slain teacher identified her to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as 61-year-old Jean Kuczka, whose five children include a son who is a police officer. Abbey Kuczka says she was told her mother, a health teacher who was looking forward to retirement, was shot when the gunman came to her classroom and she got in front of him to protect students.

"My mom loved kids," the daughter says. "She loved her students. I know her students looked at her like she was their mom because a lot of them didn't have a good home life." Some students managed to get away from the shooter after his gun jammed. Algebra teacher Ashley Rench tells the AP that she heard a loud bang before the intercom announced, "Miles Davis is in the building." "That's our code for intruder," she said. Rench said that as students sheltered, the gunman, dressed all in black, tried to enter the locked classroom. She says he gave up and went elsewhere without trying to shoot through the window. Police say seven people were injured, including a student who was shot in both hands and the jaw, USA Today reports. (More school shooting stories.)

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