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St. Louis school shooter had gun taken by police a week before attack

The 19-year-old gunman that killed two and injured seven after opening fire inside a St. Louis high school on Monday had his gun confiscated by police about a week before the attack, authorities revealed Wednesday.

On Oct. 15, the suspect's mother found an AR-15-style rifle in their family home; she then called the police and requested they remove the weapon, per NBC News. The gunman's family knew of his mental health issues and "did everything they could have done" to help him, Police Chief Michael Sack said at a news conference. His mother and sister "worked with him" to ensure he was engaging with others and felt "loved," Sack added.

Authorities earlier this week discovered a handwritten note in the suspect's car, in which he described a life of loneliness and solitude — the "perfect storm" for a mass shooter, the note said.

Sack said the firearm used in Monday's attack was the same gun that was confiscated earlier this month, but "it is not yet clear when or how the suspect came to be in possession of the firearm after this incident." Sack also declined to elaborate further on how the gunman entered the locked school building, worried it might prove detrimental to the safety of the school district. He did, however, note the gunman had to "force entry."

Authorities are "looking into" how the gunman re-obtained the weapon, Sack added. Following confiscation, the weapon was "transferred to a third party known to the family," NBC News writes. 

"I've got to give credit to the family — they made every effort that they felt they reasonably could," the chief said. "That's why the mother is so heartbroken over the families that paid for his episode."