A 19-year-old former student armed with an AR-15 rifle and more than 600 rounds of ammunition opened fire at a St. Louis, Missouri high school early Monday morning, killing two people and wounding several others. according to authorities.
The suspect, who also died in the exchange of gunfire at the Central School of Fine and Performing Arts, was identified by police as Orlando Harris, who graduated from the high school last year.
St. Louis Police Commissioner Michael Sack said at a news conference Tuesday that Harris, who had no criminal history, left a handwritten note in his car stating his desire “to be involved in this school shooting.”
Sack said Harris wrote: “I don’t have any friends, I don’t have a family, I’ve never had a girlfriend, I’ve never had a social life.” Sack said Harris called himself an “isolated loner,” which was “the perfect storm for a mass shooter.”
Authorities said Monday that “there are suspicions that he may have some mental illness.”
The two victims killed by the school district have been identified as 15-year-old Alexandria Bell and 61-year-old physical education teacher Jean Kuchka.
Seven other victims, all aged 15 or 16, were injured and hospitalized. All are listed in stable condition, according to St. Louis police.
Sack said Harris had seven magazines of ammunition in a chest device and eight magazines of ammunition in a bag.
“That doesn’t include the number of magazines he dropped on the stairs in the hallways on the way in,” he said.
According to police, the shooting was reported around 9:10 a.m. local time.
Authorities did not say how the gunman entered the building, but police said the school’s doors were locked. On Tuesday, an official said he did not enter the school through the crossing.
According to St. Louis Superintendent of Schools Kelvin Adams, seven security guards were at the school. Officials said security staff detected the suspect’s attempt to enter the school and immediately alerted other staff.
“It could have been a terrible scene — it wasn’t by the grace of God,” Sack said Tuesday.
“Guns are very easy to obtain,” Sack said at a news conference Monday. “I’ve said it before — the gun laws in Missouri [are] so broad … they can openly parade them on any street and there’s really nothing we can do.”
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said she visited the students at the start of the school year.
“They were bright-eyed, tailed. We laughed, we sang, we danced. And now to be here in such a devastating and vulnerable situation breaks my heart,” she said. “My heart goes out to these families who send their children to our schools hoping they will be safe. Our children should not have to go through this.”
White House Press Secretary Karin Jean-Pierre spoke about the shooting at Monday’s press briefing, saying, “we need to do more to stop the scourge of gun violence.”
“Every day that the Senate does not send an assault weapons ban to the president’s desk or waits for other common sense action is a day too late for our families and communities affected by gun violence,” he told reporters.
At Tuesday’s news conference, Sack encouraged anyone to report to police if they “see a person who appears to be suffering from any mental illness or anxiety disorder” and are talking about buying a weapon or causing harm.
ABC News’ Ben Gittleson, Darren Reynolds, Matt Foster and Teddy Grant contributed to this report.