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'She never gave up on me': Remembering lives lost in St. Louis school shooting

So many lives were saved, but we will continue to remember those who were lost for years to come.

ST. LOUIS — Two people lost their lives, and six others were injured, in a shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in south St. Louis on Monday.

St. Louis police were called to the school for an active shooter just after 9 a.m. Within four minutes of the initial call, police made entry into the school. Eight minutes later, police engaged with the shooter and two minutes later, they gave the call for "suspect down."

So many lives were saved, but we will continue to remember those who were lost for years to come. Here's what we know about those two victims.

Alexzandria Bell

Credit: Andre Bell
The father of the teenage victim identified her as 15-year-old Alexzandria "Alex" Bell. He said she was a sophomore at the school and one of nine.

One of the two people to lose their lives in the shooting was 15-year-old Alexzandria “Alex” Bell, a sophomore at Central VPA. She was shot in her classroom and died at the school.

5 On Your Side spoke with her adopted father, Andre Bell, who said Alex was “joyful, wonderful and just a great person.”

Bell went on to say how Alex was outgoing and loved to dance. She was a member of Central VPA’s junior varsity dance team.

Credit: Andre Bell
Alex Bell

“No matter how I felt, I could always talk to her, and it was alright. That was my baby," Bell said.

Alex's life was taken a month before her 16th birthday.

A GoFundMe campaign was started to help with funeral costs and other unforeseen expenses.

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

Jean Kuczka

Credit: Kuczka family
Jean Kuczka, left, with her family.

The second person to lose her life in the shooting was 61-year-old Jean Kuczka, a health teacher at Central VPA.

According to one of her students, Alex Macias, Kuczka locked the classroom door, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to stop the shooter.

“He was able to just shoot his way in,” Macias said.

After she was shot, Kuczka was taken to the hospital and later died.

Kuczka started teaching at Central VPA in 2008, according to the school’s website. She was an avid bike rider, mother of five and had seven grandchildren.

Credit: Kuczka family
Jean Kuczka, left

Missouri Representative LaKeySha Bosley spoke at a candlelight vigil Monday night to honor Kuczka, who was Bosley's former teacher.

"She was a great teacher," Bosley said. "She never gave up on me."

Bosley went on to talk about the role Kuczka played in saving the lives of her students that day.

"She chose to save her children," she told 5 On Your Side. "She chose to save those scholars. She gave them another day."

The family says they would love any donations in her memory to go to JDRF.

RELATED: 'My God, what were you shot with?': Teacher recalls surviving school shooting with his son

How they're being remembered

Monday night, members of the community gathered at a candlelight vigil in Tower Grove Park to honor the victims who lost their lives.

An Interfaith Vigil to Save Children’s Lives will be held Tuesday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The vigil is being held to honor the victims and other lives taken by gun violence. It will be held at Mount Bethel Church, 1600 Belt Ave.


There are several free resources available for those struggling in the aftermath of the shooting.

For students, staff and families of CVPA, school counselors are available.

The St. Louis Regional Health Commission is expanding the capacity of its Bullet Related Injury Clinic.

The Ohel National Teacher Support Helpline offers teachers and school administrators free, confidential help with mental health and trauma-related issues.

Behavioral Health Response’s 24/7/365 Crisis Line and Youth Connection Helpline has a clinician available free of charge. Call 988, 314-469-6644 or 314-819-8802 (youth). Youth can also chat online at bhrstl.com or text BHEARD to 31658.

Click here for the full list of resources.

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