Police Say School Shooter's Family Took His Gun Away

St. Louis police say relatives 'did everything they could'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2022 6:40 PM CDT
Police Say School Shooter's Family Took His Gun Away
This image provided by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shows ammunition, magazines and a vest used by a 19-year-old gunman who killed a teacher and a 15-year-old girl at a St. Louis high school on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022.   (St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department via AP)

The "heartbroken" family of St. Louis school shooter Orlando Harris did "everything that they possibly could have done, but sometimes that's not enough," Police Commissioner Michael Sack said Wednesday. Sack said the 19-year-old's family had long been concerned about his mental health and would check his mail and "search his room on occasion because they were concerned," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Sack said that when they found out he had acquired a firearm, his mother wanted to get it out of the house and the family "worked with our department to transfer that to an adult who could legally possess one." Sack said the teen had been seeing mental health professionals and his family had him committed on some occasions, reports ABC.

It's not clear whether that weapon was the AR-15-style rifle used in Monday's shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, where the gunman killed 15-year-old student Alexzandria Bell and 61-year-old teacher Jean Kuczka before he was shot dead by police. Sack said that in writings Harris left behind, he spoke of his desire to carry out a shooting at the school, which he graduated from last year, and described his situation as the "perfect storm for a mass shooter," the AP reports. He said Harris wrote: "I don’t have any friends. I don't have any family. I’ve never had a girlfriend. I’ve never had a social life. I’ve been an isolated loner my entire life."

Sack said officers responding to the shooting found the gunman barricaded in a classroom and shot him after he pointed his weapon at officers who broke through the door. The seven injured students include 15-year-old Brian Collins, who was shot in the jaw but survived after the bullet narrowly missed an artery. Collins, who jumped out of a second-floor window to escape, was also shot in both hands. "He's really good at drawing," mother VonDina Washington tells CNN. "He went to CVPA for visual arts, and we're hoping he’ll be able to draw again." (An announcement about "Miles Davis alerted teachers to the threat.)

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