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Alleged SIBA Shooter Had Criminal, Mental Health History

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SWAT officers on the scene of a shooting at the Stevens Institute of Business and Arts on Washington Ave. in downtown St. Louis on January 15, 2013 (KMOX/Michael Calhoun)

SWAT officers on the scene of a shooting at the Stevens Institute of Business and Arts on Washington Ave. in downtown St. Louis on January 15, 2013 (KMOX/Michael Calhoun)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – As he continues to recover from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, more details are emerging about the man who allegedly opened fire at the Stevens Institute of Business & Arts Tuesday afternoon.

Sean Johnson, 34, of the 5300 block of Cote Brilliante in St. Louis, had been an on-again, off-again student at the school for the past four years before police say he shot financial official Greg Elsenrath.

Court records show Johnson had a violent criminal past and was ordered to take mental health medication as part of a plea deal stemming from a violent 2009 attack on a cab driver in Bridgeton. The documents allege that Johnson attempted to slash the driver’s throat with a box cutter as the driver drove down Interstate 70. According to the driver’s statements to the court, Johnson reached from the back seat and pushed the box cutter toward his neck, forcing him to crash the car into a median.

Johnson faced first-degree assault and armed criminal action charges in the Bridgeton incident but pleaded guilty in 2011 to reduced charges of second-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon. He was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to take medication. That probation would be revoked in 2012 and an arrest warrant issued for Johnson.

Erin Barnhart, a lawyer for Johnson, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Tuesday that Johnson “was a productive member of society when he was taking his medication, and struggled when he didn’t.”

In February 2011, Johnson allegedly smashed the window of a police car as it sat at the North Patrol Station and resisted arrest.

St. Louis Police say Johnson used a 9 mm handgun in Tuesday’s shooting. The weapon was found in a SIBA stairwell.

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