OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Michigan – Authorities say a 15-year-old student opened fire on his Michigan high school on Tuesday, killing three students and injuring eight others in an attack that prompted teachers to barricade classrooms and students sending panicked messages to their family and friends.
The shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford Township, a close-knit community in a suburb about 35 miles north of Detroit, took place around 1 p.m. when a boy, a sophomore from the school, began shooting a semi-automatic handgun, according to Oakland County. Sheriff’s office.
“This injury will never go away,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a press conference Tuesday night.
The three deceased students are Tate Myre, 16, Hana St. Juliana, 14, and Madisyn Baldwin, 17. Myre died in a patrol car on the way to the hospital, Bouchard said.
“The MP saw it was such a serious injury that there was no time to wait,” he said.
Of the other eight who were shot, three remain in critical condition: a 15-year-old boy, a 17-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl who is on a ventilator.
“It promises to be very hard for this young girl,” said Bouchard. A 14-year-old boy is in serious condition, the sheriff’s office added.
Seven of the injured were students. The eighth was a 47-year-old teacher from the school, who was released from the hospital.
The 9mm pistol used by the suspect in the shooting was purchased by his father on Black Friday, November 26, according to Bouchard. He was loaded with seven rounds when police arrested the suspect.
Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said it received more than 100 calls about an active shooter starting around 12:51 a.m. local time. In the three minutes the suspect was in custody, McCabe said.
The “epidemic” of gun violence in the United States: Oxford High in Michigan is the 28th school shootout of 2021
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An assistant assigned to the school as a liaison officer attended. The suspect fired around 15 to 20 shots during the incident, McCabe said.
“He offered no resistance to us when he was taken into custody,” McCabe said. “The whole thing lasted five minutes.
Students at Oxford High School described a chaotic scene in which a voice on the intercom said there was an active shooter.
At first, they weren’t sure if it was an exercise, they said.
When they realized this was not the case, they were struck with fear and panic. The teachers locked and barricaded the doors and covered the windows. The students hid. Some with cell phones have quietly texted to alert relatives and friends.
Abbey Hodder, a 15-year-old sophomore, was in chemistry class when she thought she heard glass breaking.
“My teacher kind of failed and was struggling,” she said. “The next thing I knew, I saw him pushing tables. It’s part of school protocol to barricade himself, so we all knew, barricade, barricade down. started pushing tables. “
They then lined up against a wall and grabbed something to throw, also part of the active shooting practice they went through, Hodder said. But soon after, she added, her teacher told them to jump out the window and run.
Oxford secondary school, which has around 1,800 students, does not have metal detectors, Bouchard said. He said there would be “a tremendous amount of video footage” from the school.
Authorities did not say whether the suspect was targeting anyone in particular, nor did they disclose information on a motive. McCabe said authorities were investigating whether there had been any warnings before the shooting or whether the student had a history of violence. He said the students and others would be questioned.
Bouchard said police were not aware of any prior concerns or threats regarding the school before the shooting.
The suspect, whose name has not been released, invoked his right to remain silent and refused to speak in depth with authorities, McCabe said. He said the boy’s parents “didn’t want their son to talk to us, and they hired a lawyer,” adding that the boy, being a minor, could not be questioned unless a parent approved of him.
The sheriff’s office said police executed a search warrant at the suspect’s home and seized his phone. The suspect is under suicidal watch, Bouchard said.
Isabel Flores told WJBK, a local Fox affiliate, that she and other students heard gunshots and saw a student bleeding in the face. They ran from the area through the back of the school, said Flores, 15, a ninth grade.
Robin Redding, the parent of a grade 12 student, said her son stayed home on Tuesday. She said he heard threats of shooting at school.
“It couldn’t be just random,” she said. “He just said, ‘Mom, I don’t feel comfortable. None of the kids we go to school with go today.
Redding expressed concern about the safety of the school in general and did not provide details of what his son had heard. Authorities acknowledged reports of possible violence at school, but said speculation and rumors were spreading on social media. “We’re going to get to the bottom of this,” McCabe said, noting that authorities were searching the suspect’s home that evening.
Hundreds of community members gathered in three different vigils on Tuesday evening, seeking solace and meaning amidst the devastation.
They’ve been through the ages – students, parents, and community members who never thought something like this could happen in their small, landlocked village in northern Oakland County.
“It’s the thing you read on the news, which happens in other places,” said Kim Kozel, 51, of Lake Orion, one of about 300 people who attended a prayer vigil in Kensington Church in Lake Orion.
“I don’t think I’ve dealt with it yet,” Kozel said, shaken. “It’s a lot.”
“Pretty much all of Oxford is in pain,” Pastor Jesse Holt told a crowd of over 200 at LakePoint Community Church in Oxford Township. When places ran out, dozens stood up for the service. Several were held together for comfort. Then, sharing a common flame, they lit candles given to them.
“I am shocked,” said Tim Throne, director of Oxford Community Schools, after the shooting. “It’s devastating.”
Throne said the school did not have metal detectors and that he did not believe there had been any discussions about them. McCabe said authorities knew how the student brought the gun but did not give details.
Whitmer was one of the many elected officials who expressed their condolences to the victims.
“Gun violence is a public health crisis that claims victims every day. We have the tools to reduce gun violence in Michigan. Now is the time for us to come together and help our children feel safe at school, ”Whitmer said in a statement.
The Oxford High School shooting is the 28th – and deadliest – school shooting this year, according to Education Week, which follows shootings in schools where there are gun-related injuries or deaths.
Of those 28 shootings, 20 have occurred since August, when many students returned to in-person learning for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. There were 10 recorded shootings in 2020.
President Joe Biden was briefed on the shooting after visiting a technical college in Rosemount, Minnesota, to tout his infrastructure law.
“My heart goes out to families during the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one,” Biden said. “You must know that this whole community must be in shock right now.”
Everytown for Gun Safety, a national nonprofit campaigning for tighter gun control, said in recent months there have been the highest number of shooting incidents on school grounds and people shot since the organization began tracking such incidents in 2013.
The organization said September and October were tied for the most incidents recorded in a month – 32.
This year, there have been at least 651 mass shootings – defined as an incident in which four or more people are shot or killed, according to gun violence records, which follow such incidents.
Contributor: Joey Garrison, USA TODAY; The Associated Press