The St. Louis school shooter obtained a gun after his family worked with police to have one removed from their home, officials say

The St. Louis school shooter obtained a gun after his family worked with police to have one removed from their home, officials say

Months before a 19-year-old shooter opened fire inside a St. Louis high school on Monday, his family told police he had a gun and had it removed home, officials said Wednesday.

The family were aware the shooter had mental health issues and did “everything they could have done” to help him – including giving him therapy, medication and repeatedly committing him – but, “Sometimes that’s not enough,” Acting St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Michael Sack said at a news conference.

The chief did not reveal how the shooter acquired an AR-15 type rifle after police removed a weapon months before the shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School. He also declined to discuss how the shooter entered the building despite locked doors, security guards and metal detectors at the school.

“Every building has weaknesses,” Sack said, adding that sharing details of how the shooter got into the school could negatively impact the school district.

However, he said the shooter, 19-year-old Orlando Harris, made a “forced entry” into the building.

A photo of Alexandria Bell sits among flowers and candles left in memory of the victims of a school shooting at Central Visual & Performing Arts High School on October 25, 2022 in St. Louis.
A photo of Alexzandria Bell sits among flowers and candles left as a keepsake.Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP

Shooter’s mom wanted ‘out of the house’ gun

The shooter’s family was “aware” that he got the gun, though it’s unclear when he got the gun, Sack said. An investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is underway to trace the source of this firearm sale.

“[The family] worked with our department to transfer this to an adult who could legally own one,” the chief said.

He said he believes the firearm the family contacted police about may have been the same AR-15 type rifle he used in the school shooting.

“[The family] contacted us and said he had a gun, I think it could have been that gun. The officers, in their response, turned it over to someone else, an adult who was legally able to possess it,” Sack said.

It is not known who the gun was transferred to or their relationship to the family.

“The mother wanted him out of the house, so they made it easy, the party got him. How he acquired him after that, we don’t know. We’re looking into that,” he said. declared.

Sack said the interaction with the shooter’s family and police likely took place within the past few months, although he doesn’t know the specific date.

Family ‘makes every effort to help the mental health of the shooter

The shooter’s family cooperated with police, Sack said.

“The mother, the adult daughter, they worked with him. They kind of had a system where they tracked what might come in the mail, his interaction with others and tried to make sure he was engaging people, that he felt loved,” he said. .

The shooter, who left a note describing himself as a loner and referring to mass shootings, died after exchanging gunfire with law enforcement.

Jean Kuczka, 61, a health teacher, and Alexandria Bell, 15, a student, were killed in the shooting, officials said.

“Mental health is a difficult thing. It’s hard to tell when someone is violent and going to act out,” Sack said.

“I have to give credit to the family, they made every effort they reasonably thought they could,” he continued. “That’s why the mother is so heartbroken by the families who paid for her episode.”

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