Student in downtown St. Louis school shooting had warrant


by staff

Posted on January 17, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 1:00 PM

ST. LOUIS—A part-time student accused of shooting a St. Louis business school administrator had a history of violence and a parole violation that should have landed him in jail, but didn’t.

Sean Johnson, 34, was charged with first-degree assault, armed criminal action, unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a defaced firearm.

People in the law enforcement community said Thursday it was no surprise that Johnson remained at large nearly eight months after a warrant was issued for his arrest. They say the system is flooded with so many arrest warrants that overburdened police can’t keep up.

Johnson is accused of shooting financial aid director Greg Elsenrath Tuesday at Stevens Institute of Business & Arts., then himself. Both survived.

Johnson pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon and second-degree assault for attempting to slash a taxi driver with a box cutter in 2009. Court documents show that the crime happened as the cab was being driven along Interstate 70 in St. Louis County. After the cab crashed into a median, the driver and Johnson struggled until police arrived.

Johnson was sentenced to five years of probation and required to take medication for an undisclosed mental health condition. He is still on probation for that case.

The probable cause statement said Johnson also had prior convictions for drug trafficking and drug possession.

The school’s website said Elsenrath has a bachelor’s degree from Missouri Valley College and an MBA from Lindenwood University. Elsenrath, of Winfield, Mo., has worked in financial aid for 15 years.

The school has about 180 students in programs including business administration, tourism and hospitality, paralegal studies, fashion, and retail and interior design. It relocated to its current building from another downtown building in 2010.

Statistics provided to The Associated Press show that more than 250,000 arrest warrants were issued in Missouri last year, but only slightly more than half of the suspects were taken into custody.