A 16-year-old girl and a 61-year-old woman were killed by a gunman in a shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis, Missouri on Monday morning, authorities said.
Seven other victims, all aged 15 or 16, were hospitalized with injuries, including gunshot wounds, police said. All were currently listed in stable condition, according to police.
The suspect is also deceased, according to the St. Louis Public School District and St. Louis Police.
Police identified the suspect as Orlando Harris, 19, who graduated from high school last year.
Police said Harris had no criminal history and were working to establish a motive, saying Monday there was “suspicion he may have a mental illness from which he suffered.”
St. Louis Police Commissioner Michael Sack said: “It could have been much worse – the individual had nearly a dozen 30-round high capacity magazines on him. So there are a lot of casualties. the low.”
The shooting was reported around 9:10 a.m. local time, police said. As the students fled the building, they reported that a gunman was armed with a long gun, police said.
Authorities did not say how the shooter entered the building, but police said the school doors were locked.
Seven security guards were at the school, according to St. Louis Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams. Officials said security personnel identified the suspect’s efforts to enter the school and immediately notified other staff.
“It’s very easy to get guns,” Sack said. “I’ve said it before – Missouri gun laws [are] very wide … they can carry them openly on any street, and there is really nothing we can do.
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said she visited students at the start of the school year.
“They had bright eyes, bushy tails. We laughed, we sang, we danced. And now to be here for such a devastating and traumatic situation breaks my heart,” she said. “I am heartbroken for these families who send their children to our schools hoping that they will be safe. Our children should not have to go through this.”
The mayor added: “I’m sure everyone involved will have to deal with the trauma that will ripple through our community.”
Asked about the shooting, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “We need more action to stop the scourge of gun violence.”
“Every day that the Senate does not send the assault weapons ban to the President’s desk, or waits to take … other common sense action, is a day too late for our families and communities affected by the armed violence,” she told reporters.
Ben Gittleson, Darren Reynolds, Matt Foster and ABC News’ Teddy Grant contributed to this report.