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St. Louis school shooter was handed a gun after his family worked with police to have one removed from their home, officials say

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Months before a 19-year-old gunman opened fire at a St. Louis high school on Monday, his family told police he had a gun and had it removed from the home, officials said Wednesday.

The family was aware that the shooter had mental health issues and did “everything they could possibly have done” to help him – including giving him therapy and medication and committing him on several occasions – but “sometimes that’s not enough”. interim St. Louis said Police Chief Michael Sack at a press conference.

Police said the gunman’s mother found an AR-15-style rifle in the family’s home earlier this month and wanted it removed.

“While it is not yet clear when or how the suspect came into possession of the firearm following this incident, we can confirm that the firearm used in this incident is the firearm used” on the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School on Monday, the police said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

The chief declined to discuss how the gunman entered the building despite locked doors, guards and metal detectors.

“I understand that’s something everyone would like to know, but the reality is that every building — a school, a business, a police station — has weaknesses,” Sack said, adding that sharing the details of how the shooter entering the school could be detrimental. affect the school district.

When asked whether the shooter had to break glass to enter the building, he had to force the bag.

A photo of Alexzandria Bell left between flowers and candles as a memorial.Robert Cohen / St. Louis Postal Shipping via AP

Shooter’s mother wanted weapon ‘out of home’

The shooter’s family was “aware” that he had been given the weapon, although it’s not clear when he got it, Sack said. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating the source of the arms sales.

The family “worked with our department to hand that over to an adult who could legally own one,” Sack said.

The family contacted us and said he had a firearm. I think it may have been this weapon. The officers gave it to someone else in their response, an adult who legally owned it,” Sack said.

The firearm was handed over to a third party known to the family.

“The mother wanted it out of the house, so they facilitated it. The party had it. How he got it after that, we don’t know. We’re investigating,” he said.

Sack said the police and the shooter’s family had probably been seeing each other in recent months; he didn’t know the specific date.

Family ‘made every effort’ to help shooter mental health

The shooter’s family is working with police, Sack said.

“The mother, the grown daughter, they worked with him. They had some sort of system where they could track what might come in the mail, his interaction with others and try to make sure he engages people, that he feels loved,” he said.

The gunman, who left a note describing himself as a loner and referring to mass shootings, died after a shootout with law enforcement officers.

Jean Kuczka, 61, a health teacher, and Alexzandria Bell, 15, a student, were killed, officials said.

“Mental health is a difficult thing. It’s hard to tell when someone is violent and is going to act,” Sack said.

“I have to give credit to the family – they did everything they reasonably could,” he added. “That’s why the mother is so heartbroken about the families who paid for his episode.”

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