Subscribe to Here’s the Deal, our politics
newsletter for analysis you won’t find anywhere else.
Thank you. Please check your inbox to confirm.
Leave your feedback
The city of St. Louis is struggling to cope with the aftermath of a high school shooting. On Monday, a 19-year-old gunman killed teacher Jean Kuczka and 15-year-old student Alexandria Bell and wounded many others. With residents still on edge, local officials are facing growing pressure to address gun violence. Communities reporter Gabrielle Hays joined Amna Nawaz to discuss the latest.
The city of St. Louis is struggling to cope with the aftermath of a high school shooting earlier this week.
On Monday, a 19-year-old gunman killed teacher Jean Kuczka and 15-year-old student Alexzandria Bell and wounded many others. With many residents still on edge, local officials are facing growing pressure to address gun violence.
Our community reporter, Gabrielle Hays, has been following it all. And she joins me now.
Gabby, welcome. And thank you. Good to see you.
Just walk me through some of your reporting. You have been following this closely. Take me back to that day. What were the early hours like, and how did the rest of the day unfold?
You know, I'm going to it was an incredibly scary day. Those early hours were very scary for the community, very scary for those students.
I was in the area a little bit after it happened. And I can't really put into words to you what it was like to witness parents trying to find their students, not just those images, right? We're also talking about images you may have seen on TV or social media already of students jumping out of windows trying to get to safety. I mean, it's an incredibly hard thing to see and thing to know.
As the days go on, we get more and more information about how that day and folded. Police told us that they got that call in at about 9:10, 9:11, that police made it to the scene minutes later, that they got inside, that they eventually engaged with the shooter on the third floor. And we're told that they were able to secure the scene by 9:32 and then the entire building not long after.
So, I don't really know what word you can use to describe what that experience was like that day. What I can tell you is that, not long after, that night, actually, more than 100 people were at one of our local parks to create a space to grieve, not only to grieve, but to also support each other and to support each other in grieving for those who were lost and to support the students who had experienced something incredibly scary.
Gabby, amidst all the loss and the grief that's clearly still resonating in the community, we know this incident has reignited another conversation yet again about stricter gun legislation.
Tell me how that's playing out in that community.
I think that conversation has been brought up in every press conference — almost every press conference I have been a part of since it happened. Missouri has lax gun laws. And that was even brought up by police when asked by reporters whether or not it was difficult or was it easy to get guns here.
And the interim police chief even said, yes, it is easy to get guns because gun laws here are broad. And so that makes it difficult for law enforcement. But I think it's also important to note what was brought up not only by our mayor, but by the director of our health department is that gun violence is something that hits close to home to us here in St. Louis.
The health director even mentioned that, the day before, eight people had died at the hands of gun violence, if you just think about what that means. And so, absolutely, gun legislation and gun laws is absolutely a conversation. The director even said today that it is a public health crisis.
So, Gabby, in the brief time we have left, just bring us up to speed on the latest. Where's the investigation? What's going on in the school? How are folks in the community doing?
So, the investigation is ongoing. But we know we get a little bit more each and every day. What we do know is that the FBI is involved. They have been the last two conferences I have been at. They're asking the public to please provide any digital evidence that they may have that can help them in their investigation.
We also know that the school system is trying to figure out not only how to best support its students now, but in the future. The first thing the superintendent said that day in the very first moment we heard from them was that they're trying to figure out what they can do to hopefully prevent something like this from happening moving forward.
So, when you ask, how is the community now, the community is grieving. And it is very difficult thing. But, as the mayor has said and as we have seen, St. Louis is sticking together and trying to move forward.
That is Gabrielle Hays, our communities reporter, joining us tonight from St. Louis, Missouri.
Gabby, thank you. Good to see you.
Watch the Full Episode
Amna Nawaz serves as co-anchor of PBS NewsHour.
Gabrielle Hays is a Communities Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour out of St. Louis.
Support Provided By: