Louis school shooter was flagged in FBI background check but was still able to legally purchase a gun


The Louis Metropolitan Police Department showcased the AR-15-style rifle used by a 19-year-old gunman who killed a teacher and a 15-year-old girl at a St. Louis high school on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022. The gunman was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and what appeared to be more than 600 rounds of ammunition, Police Commissioner Michael Sack said on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. 


The 19-year-old gunman who forced his way into a St. Louis school and killed two people purchased the AR-15-style rifle from a private seller after an FBI background check stopped him from buying a weapon from a licensed dealer, police said Thursday.

The shooter who’s been identified as Orlando Harris tried to buy a firearm from a licensed dealer in nearby  city of St. Charles, Missouri, on October 8. An FBI background check “successfully blocked this sale,” police said, though they didn’t say why the sale was blocked. Even though the initial purchase was denied, Harris was still able to buy the rifle used in the school shooting on Monday at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School from a private seller who had purchased it legally in 2020, police said.


It was noted in the investigation that Missouri does not have a red-flag law aimed at keeping firearms away from people who may be a danger to themselves or others. Police would also state that Harris’ mother called police on the evening of October 15 after she found a gun and wanted it removed. A family member would take the gun away from the home. But unfortunately Harris got the gun back. How this was able to happen is still under investigation.


Police responded within minutes after being called Monday morning. Officers confronted and killed the gunman. He had around 600 rounds of ammunition with him. Tenth-grader Alexzandria Bell and teacher Jean Kuczka were killed in the attack, and seven 15 and 16-year-olds were wounded. None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.


It was also noted that Harris did have mental issues, starting in his final message, “perfect storm for a mass shooter,” referring to his mental issues and the life isolation that he was living. Student Samantha Miller states, “The thing is the person who failed was the person who ignored the blocked background check. Also the fact that the laws there didn’t let the police seize the gun. Honestly I feel like the response to the threat and the family’s response is a big improvement from the Uvalda shooting. As even officers off duty were willing to actually go into the building, as scary as it is. Being in a school and being at risk is a little tiny bit of hope that people actually will help. It shows them what laws need to change and how they can stop this from ever happening again.”


This situations along with many other school shootings stresses that there needs to be reform and policy change. If nothing is further done this cycle is doomed to repeat again.