St. Louis school shooter had kill list, aimed to become ‘deadliest shooter in history’
The gunman wrote his motive for the shooting and a countdown to the violent attack in a notebook that police found in his car
By Joe Holleman
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
ST. LOUIS — The teen who carried out the fatal shootings Monday at a St. Louis high school had a list of names of people he planned to target, wanted to be the deadliest school shooter in U.S. history and had planned his assault for weeks, he wrote in a notebook that police found in his car after the attack.
Orlando Harris, 19, wrote in the notebook that he knew he had mental health problems but felt that none of the medical professionals he worked with was taking his concerns seriously.
Harris killed two people and injured seven others in the attack at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School and Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience.
He began his assault about 9:10 a.m. Monday, armed with an AR-15-style rifle and about 600 rounds of ammunition. Less than 20 minutes after he entered the campus, he was killed by police.
Physical education teacher Jean Kuczka, 61, and sophomore Alexzandria Bell were killed in the attack.
The notebook contained a lengthy account of Harris’ intentions and planning, sources told the Post-Dispatch. It also included:
— A list of names he wanted to target. Neither Kuczka nor Bell were named on the list. Harris graduated from CVPA in May.
— Harris was aware of his mental problems, but felt that none of the mental-health professionals he had worked with was taking his concerns seriously.
— Harris was vying to be the deadliest school shooter in U.S. history and was aware of the possibility that he could die as a result of the attack.
— Harris had begun a “countdown” that began at least three weeks before the shooting, with days specifically noted in descending order.
Police are investigating the fact that the AR-15 Harris used in the attack — which had been taken from him and given to a third party — ended up back in Harris’ possession and then placed in a storage facility.
The gun was removed on Oct. 15, nine days before the school attack, from Harris’ house in south St. Louis. His mother had found it at the house and wanted it removed.
Harris’ family had been increasingly worried about his mental state in the weeks leading up to the attack, police said, and at one point had him “committed.”
St. Louis police maintain that the department did not have the authority to take the gun because Missouri does not have a “red flag” law that would have allowed confiscation.
The police who responded to the call from Harris’ mother supervised the transfer of the gun to a third person, known to the family. That person took the gun away from the house.
The gun somehow ended up back in Harris’ possession. Police are looking into the possibility that Harris put it in a nearby storage facility, returning to retrieve it sometime before the shooting.
An employee at the Extra Space Storage in Shrewsbury on Friday referred questions to a company spokesperson. Harris had rented a small unit there. Security footage captured him returning to the facility a few days after he rented it.
A spokesperson for Extra Space said the company turned over the footage to the FBI, referred all questions to the agency, and said guns and ammunition are not allowed to be stored at company facilities.
FBI descended on the facility later Monday morning — just a few hours after the shooting.
St. Louis police declined to comment about the contents of the notebook or the involvement of a storage facility.
The Post-Dispatch also has reported that the AR-15 used in the attack was bought from a private dealer after an FBI background check blocked his attempted purchase from a licensed dealer in St. Charles.
Involuntary commitment to a mental health institution is one of the triggers that can block the purchase of firearms at licensed dealers.
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