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Two shot dead at St Louis school as White House condemns ‘senseless violence’

A gunman broke into a St Louis high school on Monday and killed two people before police shot him dead.

Several other people were wounded in a deadly intrusion that is certain to reignite debate about gun control in the US, even after Congress passed a bill earlier this year that tightened restrictions on access to firearms for some people who are considered to be at risk of carrying out violence.

On Monday morning, an unnamed gunman shot and killed two people at Central Visual and Performing Arts high school in the St Louis area, according to local news reports.

“We just thought it was a regular intruder drill. But when we started hearing sirens outside and the teachers started to even get scared, then we knew that this wasn’t just a regular drill and it was real,” Adrianne Bolden, a freshman student at Central VPA, said to KSDK.

Another student at the Missouri school, 16-year-old Taniya Gholston, told the St Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper about the shooter entering a room she was in.

“All I heard was two shots and he came in there with a gun,” Gholston said. “And I was trying to run and I couldn’t run. Me and him made eye contact but I made it out because his gun got jammed. But we saw blood on the floor.”

The White House condemned the “senseless violence” of the tragedy and called for more action to stop gun deaths, sentiments echoed by education secretary Miguel Cardona in a tweet.

St Louis mayor Tishaura Jones spoke about Monday’s shooting, calling it “a devastating and traumatic situation”, NBC News reported.

“I’m heartbroken for these families who send their children to our schools hoping that they will be safe,” Jones said. Jones also tweeted, “Help us Jesus,” following the shooting.

Police reportedly entered the school at around 9.10am Central time shortly after receiving calls about a shooter storming on to the campus.

Officers who responded to those calls exchanged fire with the gunman, who was struck and taken to a hospital where he later died.

Officials said at least six more people were injured during the shooting, with ailments ranging from bullet wounds to shrapnel injuries to cardiac arrest, and were taken to hospitals in the area.

Police have said the gunman was 20 but did not release his name to the public.

Police also did not publicly identify the gunman’s two victims, including a woman who died at the hospital and a teenage girl who was pronounced dead at the school.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, condemned an “epidemic of gun violence”.

In the US this year, there have been more than 545 mass shootings, or cases in which at least four people were shot or killed. Those mass shootings include the killings of 10 at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and 21 at a school in Uvalde, Texas.

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