Street. Louis Police confirmed that the gunman, who stormed a secondary school and killed a student and a teacher and wounded seven others, used an assault rifle that had been stolen from him earlier this month.
A police statement said Wednesday night that the mother of Orlando Harris, 19, called the police on the evening of October 15 after she found a handgun and wanted it removed. The statement said the officers responded but “determined at the time that the suspect was legally permitted to possess a firearm.”
The statement said that a person known to the family and possession of it has been contacted.
Somehow, Harris got the gun back. How this happened is under investigation.
The weapon described by police as an AR-15 rifle was used in Monday’s attack on Central High School for the Visual and Performing Arts. police He responded within minutes and confronted and killed the gunman, who graduated from the school last year. He had about 600 rounds in his possession.
Alexandrea Bell, a tenth-grade student and teacher Jan Kochka, was killed in the attack, and seven young men, aged 15-16, were injured. None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.
“While it is not yet clear when or how the suspect obtained the firearm following this incident, we can confirm that the firearm involved in this incident was the firearm used in Monday’s shooting,” the police statement read.
Earlier Wednesday, Police Commissioner Michael Sack said the seized gun was “believed to be” the same as the one used in the shooting.
Police believe Harris intended the targets. They did not say if any of the victims were among them.
Sack said Harris’ mother was “sad” about the shooting. Sack said in a press conference that she and other long-term relatives have dealt with Harris’ mental health issues and even made him stick to it on occasion. They also watched his mail and often checked his room to make sure he did not have a weapon.
Harris, in a letter he left behind, lamented that he had no friends, no family, no girlfriend and lived a solitary life. His memo called it “the perfect storm for a mass shooter.”
“Mental health is a tough thing,” Sack said. “It’s hard to know when someone is going to be violent and behaving inappropriately, or if they’re just suffering, depressed, and might hurt themselves.”
Central Visual and Performing Arts shares a building with another magnetic school, the Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience, which was also vacated as the shooting began. Central has 383 students, Collegiate 336.
The building was closed Monday morning and an unarmed security guard saw Harris trying to enter. Sack declined to say how Harris broke in.
The officers arrived, some off duty, four minutes after the 911 call. Amid the chaos of fleeing children, teachers, and staff, the officers asked some of the whereabouts of the gunman. Eight minutes after he arrived, officers put Harris on the third floor, barricaded in a classroom. Police said that when Harris shot the officers, they returned fire and broke through the door.
The St. Louis shooting was the first school shooting that killed several people since a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Ovaldi, Texasin May, according to a list of shootings compiled by Education Week.