ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – Police say a student in his mid-30s walked into a downtown St. Louis business school and shot an administrator before turning the gun on himself on Tuesday.
The shooting happened at the Stevens Institute of Business and Arts in the 1500 block of Washington near 15th St. around 2 p.m.
According to police, the student entered a fourth-floor office in the school and shot Greg Elsenrath, a financial aid advisor, in the chest. He then shot himself.
Police arrived within a minute of the call about the shooting. Students were huddled under desks and in closets. Elsenrath had made it to an elevator; the gunman was found injured in a stairwell between the third and fourth floor.
“We’ve trained all of our officers in active shooter response,” Dotson said. Officers hurriedly escorted out students and staff and then made sure no other gunmen were inside.
Both the suspect and Elsenrath were transported to SLU Hospital in critical condition. They were expected to survive.
Dotson said the gunman was a part-time student at the school and had no history of threatening behavior, and the motive wasn’t clear. Police said a handgun was recovered inside the school.
According to police, SWAT units checked each floor of the school and determined the building was secure. No other victims were found.
About 40 students who were at the school were immediately evacuated from the building. Those students were being interviewed by police.
Among the students taking refuge was 24-year-old Britanee Jones. She declined to speak to reporters, but her mother, Angae Lowery, said Jones texted a friend, who alerted Lowery.
“She sent a text message and said a gunman was in the building,” Lowery said after greeting her daughter with a screech of joy and a hug. “She saw him (the gunman) go by the classroom. “I’m so happy to see her come out of there,” Lowery said. I’m relieved.”
Washington Ave. was completely shut down beginning at 14th Street.
School officials said the school would be closed until Tuesday as it implemented an emergency plan.
The school with about 180 students is located in a historic building in the downtown’s loft district. It began as Patricia Stevens College in 1947 and offers classes in business administration, tourism and hospitality, paralegal studies, fashion, and retail and interior design.
Messages left Tuesday with the school’s telephone operator and the college’s president, Cynthia Musterman, were not immediately returned.
According to the school’s website, Elsenrath holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Ag Business from Missouri Valley College and an Master’s degree from Lindenwood University. He has worked in financial aid for more than 15 years.