This week, a 19-year-old man named Orlando Harris entered Central VPA High School in St. Louis.
There, armed responders shot and killed a teacher and student before being shot dead. Eight people in total were taken to the hospital with injuries that included a gunshot wound and a broken ankle.
Harris had graduated from that same high school last year. Harris left a note in his car with a list of other school shootings across the US, with the names of the gunmen and the number of people they killed as he expressed his desire to be the next name on it.
The note read in part, “I don’t have any friends. I don’t have any family. I’ve been an isolated loner my whole life. This was a perfect storm for a mass shooting.”
Although it’s a horrific tragedy, authorities acknowledged that it could have been much worse.
Police Commissioner Michael Sack explained, “The individual had almost a dozen 30-round … high-capacity magazines on him. That’s a whole lot of victims there.”
Harris’s rifle in the shooting had been taken from him earlier this month. Police say that his family contacted police to come to take away the weapon, explaining, “The mother at the time wanted it out of the house.”
On October 15 (just nine days before the shooting), police responded to a domestic disturbance at Harris’s house. “Officers responded and determined at that time the suspect was lawfully permitted to possess the firearm. A third party known to the family was contacted and took possession of the firearm so it would no longer be stored in the home.”
It is unclear how or why the weapon was returned to him. Police are investigating.
The family tried everything they could to help Harris, including sending him to receive mental health treatment, searching his room, tracking what he received by mail, and ensuring he was interacting with people regularly and felt loved. Sack said, “They made every effort that they felt that they reasonably could. I think that’s why the mother is so heartbroken over the families that paid for his episode.”
Video courtesy of KMOV4