OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Authorities say a 15-year-old student opened fire at his Michigan high school Tuesday, fatally shooting three students and injuring eight others in an attack that prompted teachers to barricade classes. School and students send panic messages to family and friends.
Shooting in Oxford High School in Oxford Town, a tight-knit community in a suburb about 35 miles north of Detroit, took place around 1 p.m. when a boy, a sophomore at the school, began firing a semi-automatic handgun. , according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.
“This wound will never go away,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a news conference Tuesday night.
The three students who died were 16-year-old Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana is 14 years old and Madisyn Baldwin is 17 years old. Myre died in a patrol car on the way to the hospital, Bouchard said.
He said: “The deputy minister found it to be a very painful wound so there was no time to wait.
Of the eight others shot, three are still in critical condition: a 15-year-old boy, a 17-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl on ventilators.
“This young lady looks tough,” Bouchard said. A 14-year-old boy is in serious condition, the sheriff’s office added.
Seven of the injured were students. The eighth is a 47-year-old teacher at the school, who has since been discharged.
According to Bouchard, the 9mm pistol the suspect used in the shooting was purchased by his father on Black Friday November 26. It was loaded with seven rounds of ammunition when police arrested the suspect.
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says it received more than 100 calls about an active shooter that started around 12:51 p.m. local time. Within three McCabe said.
The ‘pandemic’ of gun violence in the US: Oxford High School in Michigan is the 28th shooting range of 2021
A deputy assigned to the school as a liaison has provided support. McCabe said the suspect fired about 15 to 20 shots during the incident.
“He didn’t give us any resistance when he was arrested,” McCabe said. “The whole thing lasted five minutes.”
Oxford high school students described a chaotic scene in which a voice over the intercom said there was an active shooter.
At first, they didn’t know if it was a drill, they said.
When they realized that wasn’t true, they were struck with fear and panic. Teachers have locked and barricaded doors and covered windows. Students hide. Some with cell phones were quietly texting to alert their parents and friends.
Abbey Hodder, a 15-year-old sophomore, was taking a chemistry class when she thought she heard glass breaking.
She said: “My teacher has run out and is running around. “The next thing I knew I saw him pushing the table. It was part of the school process to barricade, so we all know, barrier, barricade down. And all of us. start pushing the table.”
They then lined up along a wall and grabbed something to throw, which was also part of the active shooting training they did, Hodder said. But not long after, she added, her teacher told them to jump out the window and run.
Oxford High School, which has about 1,800 students, does not have metal detectors, Bouchard said. He said there would be a “massive amount of video footage” from the school.
Authorities did not say whether the suspect was specifically targeting anyone, nor did they disclose any information about a motive. McCabe said authorities are investigating whether there were any warnings prior to the shooting or whether the student had a history of violence. He said students and others would be questioned.
Bouchard said police were not aware of any concerns or threats surrounding the school prior to the shooting.
McCabe said the suspect, whose name was not released, invoked his right to remain silent and refused to speak to authorities in depth. He said the boy’s parents “didn’t want their son to talk to us, and they hired an attorney”, adding that because the boy was a minor he could not be questioned unless approved by his parents. favorable.
The sheriff’s office said police executed a warrant to search the suspect’s home and seized his phone. Bouchard said the suspect was on suicide watch.
Isabel Flores told WJBK, a local Fox affiliate, she and other students heard gunshots and saw one student bleeding from his face. Flores, 15, a 9th grader, said they ran from this area through the area behind the school.
Robin Redding, the parent of a 12th grader, said her son was at home on Tuesday. She said he had heard threats of a shooting at the school.
“This can’t just be random,” she said. “He just said, ‘Mom, I don’t feel comfortable. None of the kids we went to school with were going to school today. ‘”
Redding expressed concern about school safety in general and did not provide specifics about what her son had heard. Authorities acknowledged reports of possible violence at the school but said speculation and rumors were circulating on social media. “We will be looking into this matter thoroughly, noting that authorities searched the suspect’s home that evening,” McCabe said.
Hundreds of people from the community gathered for three different vigils on Tuesday night, seeking comfort and meaning amid the devastation.
They ranged in age – students, parents and community members who never thought something like this could happen in their tiny village in northern Oakland County.
“This is what you read on the news, it happens in places,” said Kim Kozel, 51, of Orion Lake, one of about 300 who attended the vigil at Kensington Church in Orion Lake. is different.
“I don’t think I’ve done it yet,” Kozel said, confused. “It’s been a lot.”
Pastor Jesse Holt told a crowd of more than 200 at LakePoint Community Church in Oxford Town: “All of Oxford is hurt. When the seats were full, dozens of people stood to serve. Some hold each other for comfort. Then, sharing a common fire, they lighted the candles that were given.
“I’m in shock,” Tim Throne, director of Oxford Community School, said after the shooting. “It’s brutal.”
Throne says the school doesn’t have metal detectors and he doesn’t believe there’s been a discussion about them. McCabe said authorities knew how the student brought the weapon, but did not elaborate.
Whitmer was among the elected officials who expressed condolences to the victims.
“Gun violence is a public health crisis that takes lives every day. We have the tools to reduce gun violence in Michigan. This is a time for us to come together and help our children feel safe at school,” Whitmer said in a statement.
The Oxford High School shooting was 28th – and deadliest shooting range – this year, according to Education Weekly, which tracks school shootings with gun-related injuries or deaths.
Of those 28 shootings, 20 have occurred since August when many students returned to face-to-face school for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. There are 10 recorded mass shootings in 2020.
President Joe Biden was briefed on the shooting after touring a technical college in Rosemount, Minnesota, to introduce his infrastructure law.
“My heart goes out to the families in the unimaginable pain of losing a loved one,” Biden said. “You have to know that entire community must be in a state of shock right now.”
Everytown for Gun Safety, a national nonprofit that promotes stricter gun control, said in the past several months the number of schoolyard shootings and people being shot was the largest since the organization. began tracking such incidents in 2013.
The organization says September and October are the months with the most incidents on record – 32.
This year, there have been at least 651 mass shootings – defined as an incident in which four or more people were shot or killed, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks such incidents. .
Contributors: Joey Garrison, USA TODAY; Related press