OXFORD TOWNSHIP, MICH. – A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school Tuesday, killing three students, including a 16-year-old boy who died in the deputy’s patrol car on his way to the hospital, authorities said. Eight others were injured, some critically.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said late Tuesday that investigators were still trying to determine a motive for the shooting at Oxford High School in the town of Oxford, a community of about 22,000 people about 22,000 people from Detroit. 30 miles (48 km) north.
“The person with the most insight and motivation is not talking,” Bouchard said at a news conference.
Mr Bouchard said the suspect’s father had purchased the 9mm Sig Sauer gun used in Friday’s shooting and added that he did not know why the man had purchased the gun. Bouchard said the suspect practiced shooting with a gun and “posted pictures of targets and weapons.”
The three students killed were 16-year-old Tate Myre, Hanna St. Julian is 14 years old and Madisyn Baldwin is 17 years old. Bouchard said Myre died in a patrol car when a deputy tried to take him to the hospital.
Bouchard said a teacher with a grazed shoulder wound has been released from the hospital, but seven students between the ages of 14 and 17 are still hospitalized with gunshot wounds, including a 14-year-old girl on a ventilator. after surgery.
Earlier, Secretary of State Mike McCabe said authorities were aware of allegations circulating on social media that there had been threats of a shooting at a school of about 1,700 students before Thursday’s attack. Three, but he cautions against believing that account until investigators can look into it.
He also downplayed an incident in early November when a deer head was thrown off the roof of a school, which he said was “completely unrelated” to the shooting. The vandalism prompted the school administration to post two letters to parents on the school’s website this month saying they were responding to rumors of threats against the school but had not found one.
Authorities did not immediately release the suspect’s name, but Bouchard said deputies arrested him within minutes of arriving at the school in response to a series of 911 calls about the attack, which occurred just before 1pm. from a bathroom with a gun, which he said had seven bullets still in it.
“I believe they actually saved lives by taking out the suspect with a loaded gun while still in the building,” Bouchard said.
McCabe said the suspect’s parents visited their son where he was being held and advised him not to speak to investigators, which was his right. Police must get permission from the minor suspect’s parents or guardians to speak to them, he added.
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald released a statement Tuesday night saying her office expected to bring charges quickly and that an update would be available Wednesday.
McCabe said he is not aware of any prior conduct the suspect has committed with law enforcement or if he has any history of discipline at school.
President Joe Biden, before speaking at a community college in Rosemount, Minnesota, said: “As we learn the full details, my heart goes out to the families who are enduring unimaginable pain. Imagine losing a loved one.”
The school was placed on lockdown following the attack, with some children taking shelter in locked classrooms while officers searched the facility. They were then taken to a nearby Meijer grocery store to be picked up by their parents.
The district said in a statement that all of its schools will be closed for the rest of the week.
Isabel Flores, 15, a 9th grader, told WJBK-TV that she and other students heard gunshots and saw another student bleeding from his face. Then they ran from this area to the back of the school, she said.
Authorities said they were searching the suspect’s cell phones, school footage and social media posts for any evidence of a possible motive.
Robin Redding, a concerned parent, said her son, Treshan Bryant, was a 12th grader at the school but was at home Tuesday. She said he had heard threats that there might be a shooting.
“This can’t just be random,” she said.
Redding did not provide specifics about what her son had heard, but she expressed concern about school safety in general.
“The kids are like they’re mad at each other at this school,” she said.
Bryant said he texted some of his cousins in the morning and they said they didn’t want to go to school, and he had a bad feeling. He asked his mother if he could do his homework online.
Bryant said he had heard vague threats “a long time ago” about the planned shooting.
“You shouldn’t play about that,” he said of the threats. “This is real life.”
During vigil at Lakepoint Community Church on Tuesday night, Leeann Dersa broke down in tears as she hugged friends and neighbors. Mrs Dersa has lived for almost 73 years in Oxford and her grandchildren have attended high school.
“Feared all of us something terrible. It was horrible,” Dersa said of the shooting.
For Greg Hill, his gut-wrenching day. His children attended the elementary school in the district, and he brought them to the ceremony.
Hill, 40, said: “We’re so glad our children are safe and now it’s time for the community to heal.
Pastor Jesse Holt said news of the shooting flooded him and his wife, including texts from some of the 20 to 25 students in the 400-member church.
“Some were so scared, hid under their desks and texted us, ` `We’re safe, we’re fine. We heard gunshots, but we’re okay.” They tried to reassure us, at least that’s how it feels,” he said.
One student texted that she was hiding in the bathroom with a boy who was also seeking shelter.
After deputies apprehended the shooter, the girl fled the school and was taken in by someone who lived nearby until her mother could pick her up, Holt said.
“It’s our community,” he said. “It’s us.”
Associated Press writers Corey Williams of West Bloomfield, Michigan, Kathleen Foody of Chicago, Josh Boak of Rosemount, Minnesota, and David Aguilar of Oxford Township contributed to this report.