Another School Shooting: “The Perfect Storm”

Eva Ryan '25, Staff Writer

Orlando Harris: Image from STL Today

According to STL Today, a gunman killed a student and a teacher on Monday, October 24th, 2022. He had an AR-15-style rifle loaded with 600 rounds of ammunition. The gunman was a 19-year-old male named Orlando Harris.

However, something incredibly interesting about this shooting was that Harris left a note in the school. It read, “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. This was the perfect storm for a mass shooter.” according to STL

Harris was a former student of the school, Central Visual, and Performing Arts High School. The teacher who was killed was 61-year-old Jean Kuczka, a mother of 5 and a devoted health teacher. And the student was Alexzandria Bell, age 15. Four students were also injured, two bullets in the legs, one in an arm, and one in a hand and jaw. Another student fractured an ankle. 

According to STL, “Police haven’t said if they believe Harris targeted any of his victims. One survivor heard him say he was ‘tired of everybody’ in the school. His gun jammed at least once, a student told the Post-Dispatch. It is still unclear where Harris got the gun.” However, in an article written by CNN, there is a bit more information about the gun. “‘When 19-year-old Orlando Harris first tried to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer, the background check blocked the sale’, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Sgt. Charles Wall said Thursday. ‘But Harris could still legally buy the rifle from a private individual who had bought the firearm from a licensed dealer in 2020,’ Wall said.” 

And in another article by CNN, we learn more about the gunman’s mental health. “When family members of 19-year-old Orlando Harris grew concerned about his mental health, they seemed to do everything right, the St. Louis police commissioner said. ‘They contacted us, said that he had a firearm,’ Commissioner Michael Sack said Wednesday. ‘The mother at the time wanted it out of the house,’ he said. ‘The officers, in their response, handed it over to somebody else, an adult who was lawfully able to possess it.’ At times, the teen’s family also committed him to a mental institution, Sack said.” According to the same article, the public also learned that his parents frequently checked his room out of fear for his mental health.

The gunman was killed in the school by a responding officer. “Within minutes, officers had arrived at the school and quickly engaged the shooter in a gunfight, according to St. Louis Police Commissioner Michael Sack. Harris was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.”

This is the 67th school shooting in the country this year. Schools need to teach more than math and writing, but also gun safety.