Story by Ellie Youngs, News Editor
On Monday, October 21, 2022, two people were killed and multiple people were left in critical condition after a gunman attacked St. Louis High school. During the attack, teachers and students were forced to barricade doors, jump from windows and run from the building to ensure their safety. Police arrived at the scene at 9:11 that morning, four minutes after the call was received.
Authorities identified the two victims to be 15 year-old Alexandria Bell, a sophomore student and one of nine children in her family, and Jean Kuczka, a 61 year-old physical education teacher. On top of the two people who were fatally wounded, another seven people were wounded and hospitalized. These students, all 15 or 16 years of age, are now said to be in stable condition.
The gunman was identified as a 19 year-old male who had graduated from the school a year prior, and authorities confirmed that he was armed with an AR-15 style rifle and was carrying over 600 rounds of ammunition. After a gunfight with the authorities, the gunman was taken into custody and was eventually pronounced dead in the hospital.
Authorities did not confirm how the gunman managed to enter the building, but they did stress that the school’s doors were locked. Prior to this shooting, however, the St. Louis police commissioner confirmed that officers were called to the gunman’s home by his parents who were concerned about him and wanted his assault rifle to be removed from the home. The officers concluded that this 19-year-old was legally allowed to possess this weapon, despite concerns about his attitude and recent behavior. After the shooting, authorities did find a handwritten letter in the gunman’s car discussing his intent to carry out this shooting.
St. Louis Mayor Tishuana Jones explained that she went to visit the students at the beginning of the school year.
“We laughed, we sang, we danced. And now to be here for such a devastating and traumatic situation breaks my heart,” Jones said. “Our children shouldn’t have to experience this.”
The families and community members of St. Louis are still mourning for the lives lost in this tragic event, and authorities are still working to ensure that students and teachers are safe when they enter the school every day.