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The St. Louis area is in mourning after the nation's latest deadly school shooting

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Teachers and parents gathered for a candlelight vigil in St. Louis last night after a shooting at their high school earlier in the day. Police say a former student broke into the school and killed a teenager and a teacher before the gunman was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police. Chad Davis with St. Louis Public Radio reports on last night's remembrance.

CHAD DAVIS, BYLINE: Sixteen-year-old Alex Macias took time at the vigil to remember Jean Kuczka, his health and PE teacher, as someone who valued her work and family.

(APPLAUSE)

ALEX MACIAS: She has several kids. She has grandkids. She had pets she cared about. She seemed like she actually cared about the students to me.

DAVIS: Kuczka was one of two people shot and killed Monday morning at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School. Police have not yet identified the name of the 16-year-old student who was killed. Parents who had children at the school recalled the horror they witnessed when they were first alerted about the shooting. Bryan Macias (ph), Alex's father, says the news was difficult to process as he arrived at the school to pick Alex up.

BRYAN MACIAS: I can't imagine myself going through that. And then I'm trying to, like - I just really wish that he didn't have to go through that.

DAVIS: Fifteen-year-old Eli Carty, who attends Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience, which shares the same campus with the Performing Arts High School, says Kuczka was her cross country coach.

ELI CARTY: I saw her just last week at a meet. I mean, I'm just - it's surreal. And it shouldn't have happened.

DAVIS: Police have not offered a motive from the suspect, whom they say was a 19-year-old former student and who was killed at the scene. Teachers, students and loved ones are being urged to call behavioral health response or district counselors for support.

For NPR News, I'm Chad Davis.

(SOUNDBITE OF JEREMIAH FRAITES' "ARRIVAL") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Chad Davis

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