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updated: 1/16/2013 11:27 AM

Decision on charges expected in St. Louis shooting

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Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Charges could be filed Wednesday morning in the shooting at a downtown St. Louis business school, a spokeswoman for the city's circuit attorney said.

Susan Ryan, spokeswoman for St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, said the office was reviewing a report from police.

"We will have an announcement by late-morning," Ryan said.

A part-time student walked into an office at Stevens Institute of Business & Arts Tuesday and shot a longtime administrator in the chest before turning the gun on himself. About 40 students in the building scrambled to safety. No one else was hurt.

Both injured men underwent surgery and remained hospitalized Wednesday. A spokesman at Saint Louis University Hospital declined to discuss their conditions. Police Chief Sam Dotson said he was hopeful both would survive.

Police did not identify either man, but Dotson said the administrator was a longtime employee in his late 40s. He said the suspect had been attending the school off and on for four years and hadn't previously made threats or acted violently.

Police arrived to chaos after the shooting, with many students running out of the five-story historic building in the downtown loft district of St. Louis, Dotson said. Police tactical teams and dogs searched the building after the roughly 50 people who were inside during the attack were brought out.

They found the administrator, who had been shot in his fourth-floor office, near an elevator and the suspect in a stairwell between the third and fourth floors, he said. Police found a handgun, but a spokeswoman wasn't sure where.

The motive wasn't clear, but Dotson said the shooter apparently sought out the victim.

"This did not appear to be random," Dotson said. "It appeared to be targeted."

Britanee Jones, 24, hid under a desk while her classmates ducked into closets or ran out of the building. Her mother, Angae Lowery, raced to the school to make sure her daughter was safe.

"She sent a text message and said a gunman was in the building," Lowery said. "She saw him (the gunman) go by the classroom."

When Jones emerged from the building about an hour-and-a-half after the shooting, her mother and another relative greeted her with shrieks of joy. Jones declined interview requests, saying only that she was in a fashion management class when the shooting began.

"I'm so happy to see her come out," Lowery said. "I'm relieved. It was really frightening."

The school has about 180 students in programs including business administration, tourism and hospitality, paralegal studies, fashion, and retail and interior design.

Dotson said police arrived within one minute of getting a call about the shooting and used an "active shooter" protocol developed after a 2010 shooting spree in which a man killed four people and wounded five others at ABB Inc., a St. Louis transformer manufacturer.

Several people left messages on the school's Facebook page expressing dismay that a shooting happened there, and expressing prayers for a quick recovery for the administrator. The school posted on the Facebook page that it would be closed until 8 a.m. Jan. 22.

Several messages left Wednesday with the school's president, Cynthia Musterman, and members of the staff were not immediately returned.

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