Gunman who killed 61-year-old woman and a 16-year-old girl at a St. Louis school brought a long gun and 12 magazines, police say

Oct 24, 2022, 9:42 AM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 11:23 am
The police responded to an active shooting incident this morning at Central VP School. (Photo court...
The police responded to an active shooting incident this morning at Central VP School. (Photo courtesy of KMOV)
(Photo courtesy of KMOV)

    (CNN) — A teen and an adult were killed in a shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis on Monday morning, police Commissioner Michael Sack said.

Officers arrived at the school four minutes after the first 911 call and it took them eight minutes to find the gunman. After a two-minute gun battle, the suspect was reported down, Sack told reporters at a news conference.

Authorities did not immediately identify the victims, but Sack said a 61-year-old woman was pronounced dead at a hospital and a 16-year-old girl was killed at the scene.

The commissioner identified the gunman as Orlando Harris, a 19-year-old who graduated from the school last year. He died at a hospital, Sack said.

Authorities are working to “try and come up with what might have led him to this. There’s suspicion, there may be some mental illness that he was experiencing. We are working on developing that information right now,” Sack said.

The shooter had no prior criminal history.

Seven other teenagers were hurt and went to the hospital, Sack said. Some had gunshot or graze wounds and some had abrasions. One had a fractured ankle. They are all in stable conditions, the commissioner said.

The commissioner said the gunman had long gun and around a dozen 30-round ammunition magazines with him.

Sack would not say how the gunman entered the school but said the school doors were locked, which delayed the suspect and bought responding officers time.

“The security staff did an outstanding job identifying the suspect’s efforts to enter and immediately notified other staff and ensured that we were contacted,” Sack said.

The St. Louis Police Metropolitan Police Department reported the active shooter on Twitter, and about 45 minutes later, tweeted, “At this time, the scene is secure and there is no active threat.”

The school district is devastated after Monday’s shooting, it said in a statement. CVPA and two neighboring schools were evacuated to a reunification location, St. Louis Public Schools said.

Teacher: Multiple bursts of gunfire

Speaking on the phone, math teacher David Williams said the gunshots erupted shortly after 9 a.m. local time (10 a.m. ET) and everyone went into “drill mode,” turning off lights, locking doors and huddling in corners so they couldn’t be seen.

There was a bang on the door, and it shook, he said. “Someone was trying to open the door,” Williams said.

Sirens emerged in the distance, and then Williams heard three shots, he said. Someone with an adult voice could be heard screaming, “You are all going to f**king die,” he recalled.

Shortly thereafter, a bullet came through one of the windows in his classroom, Williams said.

The gunshots picked up pace, he said.

About then, officers from tactical teams arrived — a huge group of them, well organized — and there was another round of gunshots before Williams heard a woman announcing herself as police, he said.

Williams and the students ran to an emergency exit, he said, adding the ordeal lasted about 40 minutes.

Police engaged the shooter on the third floor, where Williams’ classroom is located, Sack said.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner said many people reacted as trained to help save others from being hurt.

“The situation is still developing and we will know more in the coming days, but one thing that is clear is that lockdown procedures — which St. Louis Public School’s administrators, teachers and students at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School and first responders followed as this attack unfolded — were essential in preventing further violence,” Gardner said.

FBI, ATF assisting

The roughly 400-student high school is a magnet school about 6 miles southwest of downtown.

Students were being evacuated from campus “to safe and secure sites,” the district said. People are being asked to avoid the area, and parents have been informed they can pick up their children at Gateway Stem High School, about a mile and a half north of CVPA.

Word of the shooting comes on the same day Michigan teen Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty to murder charges in a Michigan school shooting last year that left four people dead and seven injured. On November 1, Nikolas Cruz will be sentenced for the February 2018 shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people died.

As the investigation into the St,. Louis shooting was unfolding, a Michigan prosecutor addressed the nation’s gun violence in the wake of Crumbley’s guilty plea.

“It’s not just about sharing with other departments. Gun violence is preventable. That’s what I’ve learned, and the fact that there is another school shooting does not surprise me — which is horrific,” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said. “It is preventable, and we should never, ever allow that to be something we just should have to live with.”

During a news conference at the White House, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre demanded Congress take action and pass an assault weapons ban.

“Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by today’s senseless violence, particularly those injured and killed, their families as well as the first respondents,” she said. “We need additional action to stop the scourge of gun violence.

“Every day that the Senate fails to send an assault weapons ban to the President’s desk, or waits to take another — other common-sense actions is a day too late for our families and communities impacted by gun violence.”

The FBI’s St. Louis field office is assisting local law enforcement in its response to the shooting, spokesperson Rebecca Wu said. The Kansas City, Missouri, field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive is assisting as well, spokesperson John Ham said in a statement.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories


Former President Donald Trump speaks during a Save America rally in October of 2022 in Warren, Mich...
Kristen Holmes, CNN

Trump and his advisers await potential indictment in hush money case

(CNN) — Behind the gilded doors of Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump has toyed with the idea of creating a media spectacle around his potential indictment, both celebrated how it will help him politically and complained about how “unfair” it is, and at times ignored the prospect of criminal charges altogether, sources close to him told CNN. Two […]
8 hours ago
A Patriot missile mobile launcher is displayed outside the Fort Sill Army Post near Lawton, Oklahom...
Natasha Bertrand and Aileen Graef, CNN

Ukrainian soldiers impress US trainers as they rapidly get up to speed on Patriot missile system

  (CNN) — The Ukrainian soldiers waved and honked their horns as they drove along a dirt road at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, moving their vehicles into position to defend against a hypothetical Russian missile barrage. These were not ordinary trucks, however. The Ukrainians were manning a US Patriot air defense system, which 65 Ukrainian soldiers have been training on […]
8 hours ago
Google is opening up access to Bard, its new AI chatbot tool that directly competes with ChatGPT. P...
Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN Business

Google begins rolling out its ChatGPT rival

(CNN) — Google is opening up access to Bard, its new AI chatbot tool that directly competes with ChatGPT. Starting Tuesday, users can join a waitlist to gain access to Bard, which promises to help users outline and write essay drafts, plan a friend’s baby shower, and get lunch ideas based on what’s in the fridge. A company […]
8 hours ago
The Hollywood sign is seen as it is repainted in preparation for its 100th anniversary in 2023, in ...
Oliver Darcy, CNN

Hollywood braces for potential strike as writers begin high-stakes talks with studios

  (CNN) — Hollywood is holding its breath. The Writers Guild of America commenced high-stakes negotiations with studios on Monday over a contract set to expire on May 1 — which could lead to the first strike in nearly 15 years, a prospect that would cause massive disruption to television and film projects across the industry. […]
1 day ago
The US Capitol Police force "is not currently tracking any direct or credible threats to the US Cap...
Priscilla Alvarez, Devan Cole, Alex Marquardt and Holmes Lybrand, CNN

Capitol Police see no current threat to US Capitol, but DC prepares after Trump calls for potential indictment protests

 (CNN) — The US Capitol Police force “is not currently tracking any direct or credible threats to the US Capitol” ahead of a possible indictment of former President Donald Trump, according to a department intelligence assessment obtained by CNN. But officials in Washington are preparing for demonstrations that could erupt, a district official told CNN on Monday. […]
1 day ago
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Hilton ...
Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

Why a Trump indictment would have huge political and national implications

  (CNN) — America’s political and legal institutions are bracing for their next extreme test posed by former President Donald Trump. Trump’s prediction on Saturday that he could be arrested this week — and his attempt to ignite a preemptive backlash — made what had been the theoretical prospect of an ex-president and 2024 candidate being criminally charged […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...
BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.
Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a new winter activity? Try skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five common causes of Cervical Cancer – and what you can do to lower your risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get ready for fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 easy Christmas dinner ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Gunman who killed 61-year-old woman and a 16-year-old girl at a St. Louis school brought a long gun and 12 magazines, police say