News Column

Classes Resume at Scene of St. Louis School Shooting

Jan. 22, 2013

Christine Byers

Students at the Stevens Institute of Business & Arts returned to classes today for the first time since police say a disgruntled student shot the school's financial aid director and himself.

Administrators, including the college's president Cynthia Musterman, greeted students as they walked through the front doors, offering them donuts and coffee as they made their way to classes.

"Their response has been positive and they're just happy to be back," Musterman said.

All of the students and administrators returned Tuesday, except for financial aid director Greg Elsenrath, who is still at a hospital recovering from a gunshot wound to his chest. Musterman said she visited him yesterday and that he was eating solid foods, walking and recovering in a regular room, but he hasn't received word of when he will be going home from the hospital.

Sean Johnson, 34, has been charged with first-degree assault, armed criminal action and two firearms violations stemming from the Jan. 15 attack on Elsenrath. Authorities said Johnson, an on-again, off-again student at the school, got into an argument with Elsenrath in Elsenrath's fourth-floor office and shot him once in the chest.

Johnson then shot himself in the side, while the more than three dozen students, faculty and staff in the building scrambled to safety. Police are still trying to determine whether Johnson shot himself intentionally or accidentally.

The gun used by Johnson had been taken along with three other guns in a 2011 burglary in St. John, according to police. It wasn't clear how the gun got to Johnson.

'A SENSE OF NORMALCY'

Police Chief Sam Dotson was also at the school this morning, greeting students and faculty for the first half hour after the building opened.

"Just because our response was last Tuesday doesn't mean we forgot about the place," Dotson said. "We're still interested in a sense of normalcy returning here."

Dotson said his department also is working with school leaders to review safety procedures.



Source: (c)2013 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Distributed by MCT Information Services


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