Teenage shooting victim remembered as 'beautiful inside and out'
Friends and family members are remembering Alexzandria Bell as a bright and energetic young woman with a strong personality who looked forward to moving from intermediate dance classes to more advanced training.
Bell was less than a month from her 16th birthday when she was killed in a shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School on Monday.
Health and physical education teacher Jean Kuczka, 61, also was shot and killed.
“She was a very well-rounded individual, beautiful inside and out,” Principal Kacy Shahid said of Bell. “Pretty serious student. Pretty no-nonsense about things, but she definitely had a personality with her peers and with her classmates.”
Police say a 2021 graduate of the school brought more than 600 rounds of ammunition to the school before killing Bell and Kuczka and injuring six others.
An avid dancer, Bell recently rehearsed for a school performance and was committed to progressing in her dance studies despite sometimes experiencing breathing difficulties caused by asthma.
“Dancing and being asthmatic has its challenges, but she did not give up,” Shahid said.
Bell graduated from Carr Lane Visual and Performing Arts Middle School before enrolling at the performing arts high school as a dance major, Shahid said. Bell also danced with the St. Louis Dazzling Diamonds, a dance troupe at the Diamond Dance Academy in Ferguson.
Friends and family members posted remembrances on social media.
“The thought that I won’t be able to send her off to prom, I won’t see her walk the stage to grab her diploma at graduation, I won’t watch her pick a college, I won’t see her smile again and I’ll never hear her beautiful laugh and voice again will never settle with me,” Destiny Diamond wrote in a Facebook post.
Diamond called Bell her “sweet little cousin.”
“We practice Active shooter drills within our schooling systems and places of employment hoping and praying we never have to actually experience something of the sort and here we are,” Diamond wrote.
The Rev. Rodrick Burton, pastor of New Northside Missionary Baptist Church, sat with Alexzandria's mother, Keisha Acres, and her family Monday while they quietly grieved. Burton offered prayers for Acres as she waited to identify her daughter’s body.
While trying to piece together the details of the shooting, Burton said Acres continuously spoke about how much her daughter smiled and her passion.
“All her baby wanted to do was dance,” he said.
Chad Davis contributed to this report.
Follow Jeremy on Twitter: @jeremydgoodwin
Follow Andrea on Twitter: @drebjournalist