A gunman opened fire at a St. Louis high school on Monday morning, killing at least two people and wounding six others before officers fatally shot the suspect, the city's police commissioner said.
When police arrived at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School at 9:10 a.m. local time (1410 GMT) in response to an active shooter call, students were running out, telling officers that a shooter was inside with a "long gun," Commissioner Mike Sack said during a news conference. Police entered the building and soon exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who appeared to be about 20 years old, fatally wounding him, Sack said.
An adult female and a teenage female were killed in the shooting, Sack said. The other victims suffered gunshot and shrapnel wounds. Eight people were transported to the hospital, while one died at the scene. No officers were injured, he said.
"While on paper we might have nine victims ... we have hundreds of others," he said. "Everyone who survived this is going to take home trauma."
The doors had been locked at Central Visual, a magnet school attended by about 380 students, before the shooting, Sack said. Security staff identified how the suspect entered the building but he declined further comment on how the gunman got inside.
The high school had seven security officers on site and metal detectors, a school official said at the conference.
Authorities did not disclose a motive or the suspect's relation to the school.
A math teacher, David Williams, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the school principal alerted staff and students over the audio system with the code phrase for a school shooter. He described hearing multiple shots outside his classroom, adding that a window in the classroom door was shot out.
Rise in school shootings
The shooting was one of dozens in US schools that caused death or injuries this year alone. One of the deadliest took place in May when a gunman killed 19 children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas.
In that rampage, police and other law enforcement officers were castigated for waiting more than an hour before confronting the shooter, who was locked in a classroom with students and teachers. The suspect in that case entered the school building through an unlocked door.