At least two dead in shooting at Central Visual Performing Arts high school in south St. Louis
Updated at 11:40 a.m. Oct. 24 with a briefing by police and elected officials
At least two people are dead and seven others injured following a shooting at a south St. Louis high school Monday morning.
Interim St. Louis Police Chief Michael Sack said the suspect was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police.
The two people fatally injured were both female, one an adult and one a teenager. Sack said their identities would be made public after next of kin were notified.
The injuries suffered included gunshot wounds, shrapnel injuries and cardiac arrest.
“This is a heartbreaking day for all of us,” Sack said in a briefing around 11:15 a.m.
The police department first received calls of shots fired at Central Visual and Performing Arts, a magnet school at 3125 S. Kingshighway, around 9:25 a.m.
Sack said the school was closed and the door locked. He said the school’s security team immediately notified police when the suspect, a 20-year-old male, attempted to gain entry, but he would not discuss how the suspect was able to get in.
Sack said that he did not know the man’s connection to the school but that police had located his vehicle. The Force Investigative Unit is handling the investigation.
St. Louis Pubilc Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams said seven security officers were at the school. Sack said the shooting took place on the third floor.
Sarah Lewis, a 18-year-old student, said she was in a classroom directly above where the shooting took place. She said she heard banging and shooting.
“I honestly felt like I wasn’t going to make it out of there,” she said.
Isabella Alamo, 16, said she saw a person at the bottom of the stairs as she was evacuating the building. She said she “tried to get people to go out faster” so they wouldn’t have to see the blood.
Parents and guardians of students attending either CVPA or the Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience, which shares a building with CVPA, can reunite with their children at Gateway STEM, located at 5101 McRee Ave.
Other schools in the area heightened their own security in response to the shooting at CVPA. Confluence Academies, which operates five charter schools throughout the city, prohibited visitors in all its buildings.
“There is no threat to any Confluence schools or students but we are taking this step as a precaution,” the school said on Twitter.
Rep. Peter Meredith, D-St. Louis, has a niece who attends CVPA. The school is in his state House district. On Facebook, he wrote that he was praying for the students and their families.
On Twitter, Aderman Shane Cohn, who represents the 25th Ward, wrote: “Nobody should experience this at school. Nobody should experience this at work. Nobody should experience this at the movies. Nobody should experience this at a concert. Nobody should experience this at a grocery. Nobody should experience this.”
State Sen. Karla May, D-St. Louis, represents the district in which the schools are located. On Twitter, she asked constituents to pray for those affected by the violence.
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