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'I've been an isolated loner my entire life': New details emerge about Central VPA gunman

"I've been an isolated loner my entire life. This was the perfect storm for a mass shooter," the gunman wrote in a note before the shooting.

ST. LOUIS — New details have emerged about the gunman who killed two and injured six others Monday morning in a shooting at a south St. Louis high school.

Police identified the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School gunman as 19-year-old Orlando Harris during a news conference Monday evening. Harris graduated from the high school in 2021 and had no criminal history.

Multiple sources familiar with the investigation told 5 On Your Side's Christine Byers the following information about the attack and what led up to it.

Sources said Harris left a note behind in his car with a list of school shootings across the country, the names of the shooters and death tolls from each of the incidents. In the note, he said he wanted to be the next national school shooter.

The note also included a detailed account of where he bought the AR-15 used in the shooting. He said he previously tried to purchase the weapon at a St. Charles County gun show but was turned down. Then, he purchased the gun from a private dealer.

Also in his car, the gunman had a map of Central Visual and Performing Arts High School and clearly planned out his attack.

He was dressed in black and wearing a pair of earplugs as he started his attack Monday morning on the first floor of the school. On him, he had almost a dozen high-capacity magazines that each held 30 rounds.

St. Louis police held a press conference Tuesday morning to talk about some of the new details that emerged. 

St. Louis Interim Police Chief Michael Sack read from the note Harris left.

"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," Harris wrote in the note.

During the press conference, Sack said, "If you see something, say something." 

He talked about the importance of being aware of individuals with mental illnesses and reporting anything that doesn't seem right. He said it's important to get help to those individuals to prevent these kinds of tragedies.

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The shooting

At 9:11 a.m. Monday, St. Louis police were called to Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, located at Kingshighway Boulevard and Arsenal Street, for an active shooter.

Officers arrived four minutes after receiving the call, engaged the shooter eight minutes after they arrived and gave a call for "suspect down" two minutes after that. During an exchange of gunfire with police, Harris was shot, and he later died at an area hospital.

St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams said there were seven security officers at the school Monday morning. They were positioned near metal detectors at the school entrances, where students enter and exit.

Police haven't identified yet how Harris was able to make his way into the school building, but witnesses recalled the sound of gunshots and windows breaking from outside the school.

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Remembering the victims

Community members gathered Monday night at a candlelight vigil in Tower Grove Park to honor those lost in the tragedy, 61-year-old health teacher Jean Kuczka and 15-year-old student Alexzandria Bell.

An Interfaith Vigil to Save Children's Lives will honor the victims and other young lives taken by gun violence 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mount Bethel Church, 1600 Belt Ave.

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