Only one day before President Obama is scheduled to present his gun violence initiatives to the nation, another school shooting has occurred, this time in St. Louis, Missouri. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that at least one person (the shooter) has been confirmed dead at a college shooting in downtown St. Louis.
A longtime employee of Stevens Institute of Business & Arts was shot by a part-time student in an apparent argument over financial aid this afternoon (Tuesday), police said. The shooting took place on the building's fourth floor. The student then shot and killed himself in a nearby stairwell.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said that both the shooter and the victim underwent surgery at the same time and at the same hospital. At that time, he was "hopeful" they both would survive. The shooting occurred at approximately 2 p.m. As stated above, however, it has now been confirmed that the shooter has died of his self-inflicted wounds. Police said the victim was in his late 40s and was shot at point-blank range in the chest with a handgun.
The police recovered a gun beside the alleged shooter in the stairwell. The shooter has been a part-time student at the college for over the last four-year period, and was well-known to the school. Neither his nor the victim’s names have been released as of this writing.
"He was familiar to faculty and staff," Dotson said. "The victim and the shooter were familiar with each other. They knew each other. This did not appear to be random. It appeared to be targeted."
Police and other authorities surrounded the building while a helicopter flew overhead. A SWAT team and police dogs scoured the building in search of other perpetrators or other injured people. Neither was found. There were between 40 and 50 people known to be in the building at the time of the incident.
Authorities have closed off most of the area, causing massive traffic problems in downtown St. Louis.
Adela Gledovic, a sales coordinator with nearby Windows on Washington, said that she heard no gunshots and only became aware of the shooting when police arrived.
“We're staying inside with our doors locked,” she said. “We're fine here though.”
As stated, both the suspect and the victim were taken to St. Louis University Hospital, and, as also indicated above, the shooter is confirmed as dead. At this writing, the victim is apparently still in surgery.
According to its website, the school was originally known as Patricia Stevens College when it opened in 1947. It offers two-year Associates as well as four-year Bachelor degrees in several majors, including business administration and interior design. As of 2010, the school had an enrollment of about 250 students.
UPDATE and CORRECTION:
As of 9:00 p.m. Chicago time, local and national radio stations, local newspapers and websites report that the shooter in this case has not died afterall. In fact, the police chief, Mr. Dotson, referred to above, has now stated that he expects both the shooter and the victim to "fully recover." I apologize for any confusion or misunderstanding the initial reports may have caused.