Family Sought Treatment for St. Louis School Shooter, Removed Gun from Home

Authorities said the teen’s family did “everything they could have possibly done,” including getting him therapy and on medication.

Family Sought Treatment for St. Louis School Shooter, Removed Gun from Home

(Photo: Olivier Le Moal, Adobe Stock)

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The family of a 19-year-old who shot and killed two people and injured seven others at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School recently removed from their home the firearm used in the deadly school shooting.

On Oct. 15, nine days before the shooting, police responded to a domestic disturbance at the family’s home because the suspect’s mother found a firearm in the home and wanted it removed, reports CNN.

“Officers responded and determined at that time the suspect was lawfully permitted to possess the firearm,” reads a statement from the St. Louis Police. “A third party known to the family was contacted and took possession of the firearm so that it would no longer be stored in the home.”

Police confirmed Wednesday that the gun removed from the home was the rifle that was used in the shooting. It remains unclear how the shooter was able to gain access to the weapon.

Interim St. Louis Police Commissioner Michael Sack said the family has been “fully cooperative” with police and appears to have “done everything they could have possibly done,” including getting him therapy and on medication, according to NBC News. On several occasions, the family committed him to a mental health facility.

“The mother, the adult daughter, they worked with him. They kind of had a system where they would track what might come in the mail, his interaction with others, and try to make sure that he’s engaging people, that he feels loved,” said Sack. “They would search his room on occasion because they were concerned. They were constantly in touch with the medical providers who were providing medical care for him.”

However, Sack added, “Sometimes that’s not enough.”

After the shooting, authorities discovered a notebook and a handwritten note left in the gunman’s car.

“’I don’t have any friends. I don’t have any family. I’ve never had a girlfriend. I’ve never had a social life. I’ve been an isolated loner my entire life,’” the note said, according to Sack. “This was the perfect storm for a mass shooter.”

The notebook revealed the shooter felt a disconnect with the school community and had targeted his former high school. He also wrote that his family didn’t know about his plans.

“Mental health is a difficult thing,” said Sack. “It’s hard to tell when somebody who’s going to be violent, or act out, or if they’re just struggling, they’re depressed and they might self-harm.”

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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