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 classrooms and students to send panicked messages to family and friends. 

The shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford Township, a tight-knit community in a suburb about 35 miles north of Detroit, unfolded around 1 p.m. when a boy, a sophomore at the school, started shooting a semiautomatic handgun, according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.

“This wound will never go away,” said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard in a press conference Tuesday night.

The three deceased students are 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hanna St. Julian, and 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin. Bouchard stated that Myre was killed in a police car while on his way to the hospital. 

“The deputy saw it was such a grievous wound that there was no time to wait,” he said. 

The remaining eight were wounded in the shooting. Three are still critically ill: A 15-year old boy and girl, 17-years-old girls, and a 14 year-old girl on ventilator.

“It’s looking very tough for this young girl,” Bouchard said.  The sheriff’s department added that a 14-year old boy was in grave condition.

Students were seven of the victims. The eighth was a 47-year-old teacher at the school, who has been discharged from the hospital. 

Bouchard says that the 9mm pistol used by the suspect in the shooting was purchased on Black Friday (Nov. 26), according to Bouchard. The suspect was carrying seven rounds of ammunition in the pistol when it was taken into police custody.

Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said it received over 100 calls about an active shooter starting around 12:51 p.m. local time. Three hours McCabe stated that the suspect was taken into custody within minutes. 

America’s Gun Violence ‘Epidemic’ Oxford High School in Michigan was 28th to be shot at by 2021.

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As a liaison, a deputy was assigned to the school. McCabe said that the suspect shot between 15 and 20 rounds during the incident.

“He didn’t give us any resistance when he was taken into custody,” McCabe said. The whole affair lasted for five minutes. 

Students at Oxford High School described an chaotic scene where a voice said that there had been an active shooter. 

At first, they didn’t know whether it was a drill, they said.

They were overcome by panic and fear when they realized that it was not. Teachers secured their doors with barricades and closed windows. Students fled. Some with cellphones quietly texted to alert their parents and friends.

Abbey Hodder was 15 years old and a sophomore when she thought that she heard glass breaking.

She said, “My teacher sort of ran out and was scrambling.” He was pushing tables the next time I looked. Barricade is part of school protocol, so everyone knew to barricade. Then we started pushing our tables.”

They then lined up along a wall and grabbed something to throw, also part of the active shooter training they’ve done, Hodder said. Her teacher then told her to get out of the way and jump from a window.

Bouchard explained that Oxford High School is home to around 1,800 students. There are no metal detectors. Bouchard said that there would be “tremendous amounts of video footage” taken from the school. 

The motive for the attack was not revealed by authorities. Authorities haven’t said if anyone was targeted. McCabe stated that authorities are investigating whether warnings were given prior to the attack or if there was any violence history. McCabe stated that students would be interrogated as well as others. 

Bouchard claimed that the police didn’t know of any previous threats to the school or concerns before the shooting. 

McCabe stated that the suspect (whose identity was withheld) invoked his right not to be identified and declined to talk in detail to authorities. The suspect claimed that his parents didn’t want the boy to talk to them, so they had an attorney hired. McCabe added that since the boy was minor, he could not be question unless the parent has approved. 

According to the sheriff’s office, police obtained his cell phone and executed a search warrant at suspect’s house. Bouchard stated that the suspect was on suicide watch. 

Isabel Flores shared her story with WJBK. A Fox affiliate nearby, Flores said she saw blood on a student’s face and heard some gunshots. Flores (15), a ninth-grader, stated that the students ran through the school’s rear.

Robin Redding, the parent of a 12th grader, said her son stayed home Tuesday. According to her, he was frightened by the possibility of being shot at school.

“This couldn’t be just random,” she said. “He just said that ‘Ma, I don’t feel comfortable. None of the kids that we go to school with are going today.’”

Redding expressed concern with school safety in general and did not provide specifics about what her son had heard. Authorities acknowledged the reports of possible violence at the school but said speculation and rumors were spreading on social media. McCabe stated, “We will get the bottom of it,” noting that authorities had been searching for the suspect’s house on the evening. 

Hundreds from the community gathered at three different vigils Tuesday night, looking for comfort and meaning amidst the devastation. 

They spanned the ages — students, parents, and community members who never thought anything like this could happen in their little enclave village in northern Oakland County.

“This is the thing you read about on the news, that happens in other places,” said Kim Kozel, 51, of Lake Orion, one of about 300 people who attended a prayer vigil at Kensington Church in Lake Orion.

Kozel rattled, “I don’t believe I have processed it yet.” It has been an awful lot.

“Just about all of Oxford hurts,” Pastor Jesse Holt told a crowd of more than 200, at LakePoint Community Church in Oxford Township. Many people stood up for the service after seating was exhausted. Several held onto each other for comfort. After sharing their common flames, the group lit each candle that had been handed to them. 

“I’m shocked,” Tim Throne, Oxford Community Schools superintendent, said after the shooting. “It’s devastating.” 

Throne stated that metal detectors are not available at the school and that he doesn’t think there have been any discussions. McCabe claimed that the authorities had information about how the weapon was brought into the school, but declined to elaborate.

Police cars line up after an active shooter situation at Oxford High School in Michigan on Nov. 30. Police had a suspect in custody.

Whitmer was one of several elected officials who expressed condolences to the victims.

“Gun violence is a public health crisis that claims lives every day. Michigan is equipped with the necessary tools to combat gun violence. 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 is the 28th — and deadliest — school shooting this year, according to Education Week, which tracks shootings at schools in which there are firearm-related injuries or deaths.

Twenty of those 28 shootings have occurred since August, when students began to return to learning in person for the first-time since the outbreak. In 2020, there were 10 shootings.

The shooting was discovered by President Joe Biden after he visited Rosemount technical college, Minnesota, in order to highlight his infrastructure law.

“My heart goes out to the families during the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one,” Biden said. “You’ve got to know that that whole community has to be just in a state of shock right now.”

Everytown for Gun Safety, a national nonprofit organization that pushes for stricter gun control, said that over the past several months, it’s seen the largest number of gunfire incidents on school grounds and people shot since the organization started 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 the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks such incidents.

Contributing: Joey Garrison, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

Source: USAToday.com

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