Father of teen killed in St. Louis school shooting has to plan funeral instead of sweet 16, he says


Alexandria Bell was just a month away from her 16th birthday – a milestone she was supposed to celebrate with her father, who lives out of state.

“My daughter was planning on coming out here to California and celebrate her birthday with me on November 18,” Andre Bell told CNN affiliate KSDK.

“But now we have to plan her funeral.”

Alexandria was one of two people killed Monday at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis.

Alexandria Bell, left, and Jean Kuczka

Teacher Jean Kuczka, 61, also was killed when a gunman armed with almost a dozen high-capacity magazines opened fire in the school.

“I really want to know: How did that man get inside the school?” Bell told KSDK.

“It’s a nightmare,” he said. “I am so upset. I need somebody – police, community folks, somebody – to make this make sense.”

As the shooting unfolded in St. Louis, a Michigan prosecutor who just heard the guilty plea of a teen who killed four students last fall said she was no longer shocked to hear of another school shooting. “The fact that there is another school shooting does not surprise me – which is horrific,” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said.

“We need to keep the public and inform the public … on how we can prevent gun violence. It is preventable, and we should never ever allow that to be something we just should have to live with.”

Alexandria was a member the Saint Louis Dazzling Diamonds dance group. Her fellow dancers created a poster with Alexandria’s image that is now part of a growing memorial in front of the school.

Her friend Dejah Robinson said the two were planning to celebrate Halloween together this weekend.

“She was always funny and always kept the smile on her face and kept everybody laughing,” Robinson said, fighting back tears.

The slain teen’s father said his daughter could make every day better.

“Alexandria was my everything. She was joyful, wonderful and just a great person,” Bell told KSDK.

“She was the girl I loved to see and loved to hear from. No matter how I felt, I could always talk to her, and it was alright. That was my baby.”

Robinson, who attends another school, said she wants lawmakers to act on gun control.

“They been knowing what’s happening, and they could have been did something,” she said. “But clearly they ain’t doing nothing and they won’t.”

Kuczka, a health and physical education teacher, was looking forward to retiring in the next few years, her daughter Abigail Kuczka said.

Jean Kuczka

“Jean was passionate for making a difference and enjoyed spending time with her family,” her daughter said in a statement sent to CNN.

Alexis Allen-Brown was among the alumni who fondly remembered Kuczka’s impact on her students. “She was kindhearted. She was sweet. She always made you laugh even when you wasn’t trying to laugh,” Allen-Brown said.

“She made you feel real, inside the class and out. She made you feel human. And she was just so sweet.”

In her biography on the school’s website, Kuzcka said she had worked at Central VPA High School since 2008. “I believe that every child is a unique human being and deserves a chance to learn,” she wrote in her bio.

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