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Man charged in shooting of teacher near Missouri high school

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WELDON SPRING, Mo. (AP) — Police charged a Missouri man Friday with randomly shooting a teacher who was jogging on a trail near his school, calling it a "random act of violence with no motive."

Joshua Curtis, 35, of Winfield in eastern Missouri, faces first-degree assault and armed criminal action charges. He was jailed on $500,000 bond and did not yet have an attorney.

The 36-year-old man who was shot teaches at Francis Howell High School in St. Charles County. He was jogging after school Wednesday on the Hamburg Trail, which runs near a wooded area adjacent to the school, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of St. Louis. Police said the teacher crossed paths with a stranger. He continued to jog, and when he was about 30 yards (27 meters) from the stranger, he heard a bang and felt pain in his back.

The teacher fell to his knees, glanced over a shoulder and saw Curtis on the trail, pointing a gun at him, police said. Curtis fired two more shots at the teacher but missed, police said.

The teacher ran to a highway screaming for help and flagged down a motorist who drove him to the school. He was taken to a hospital, where he was treated and released. The teacher's name wasn't released.

The gunman got away, but on Thursday a police aircraft spotted a tent in the woods about 75 yards from where the shooting happened. The school was placed on lockdown and a St. Charles County Police SWAT team descended on the tent. Officers arrested Curtis a short time later.

Police said they recovered a spent 9 mm casing at the shooting scene. They said they found a black bag from a gun range inside the tent that was capable of containing 100 rounds of ammunition.

"The incident appears to be a random act of violence with no motive," police said in court papers. They said the teacher identified Curtis in a photo lineup.

A charging document noted that students "were outside at the time of the incident" and could have been endangered. It said "several high school students were running other trails in the area" of the shooting.

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