OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The 15-year-old student accused of opening fire on his classmates at a suburban Michigan high school, killing four and injuring seven others on Tuesday, will face a slew of criminal counts including charges of first degree murder and terrorism, Oakland County’s top prosecutor announced Wednesday.
Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced the charges and identified the teen as Oxford High School sophomore Ethan Crumbley, noting he would be charged as an adult. He will be arraigned Wednesday afternoon and could face life in prison.
The suspect is accused of opening fire at the school in Oxford Township, a suburb about 35 miles north of Detroit, firing what sheriff’s deputies now believe to be 30 bullets and attempting to breach classroom doors.
He will face one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, McDonald said.
According to authorities, the teenager used a gun his father bought on Black Friday, days before the attack. McDonalds stated that McDonald’s was looking into criminal charges for the parents of the suspect. She said responsible gun ownership was crucial to helping stop such tragedies and “those who do not do that should be — and will be — held accountable.”
McDonalds went through all the names of those who had died, and McDonald’s included Tate Myre (16), Hana Saint Juliana (14), Madisyn Balbi (17), as well as Justin Shilling (17). McDonald’s noted that she was a parent, and would treat this case as if they were her own children.
She claimed that there were “mountains of digital evidence”, including video and posts on social media, which show that the attack was “well before” Tuesday.
According to authorities, the suspect arrived at the school carrying a plot.
“He came out with the intent to kill people. He was shooting people at close range, oftentimes toward the head or chest,” Sheriff Michael Bouchard CNN – early Wednesday. “It’s chilling. It’s just absolutely cold-hearted murderous.”
A voice announced an active shooter, describing a chaotic scene for students. Some didn’t know whether it was a drill. Teachers raced to secure doors and windows, and then barricaded them. Many students were crying and sent messages to their families.
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Abbey Hodder (15 years old) was a sophomore in Chemistry when she believed she had heard glass break.
She said that her teacher “ran out” and she was running to get help. This is how her and her classmates had completed their active-shooter training. He was pushing tables the next time I looked. Barricade is part school protocol, so everyone knew to barricade. We all began pushing the tables.”
Suspect’s father purchased gun days before; potential warning signs were investigated
Bouchard claimed that the father of the suspect bought the gun on Friday. The teen also appeared to have posted photos of the gun online days earlier.
Michael McCabe the undersheriff acknowledged that there was a rumor of warning signs, and said they were being investigated. The Associated Press was told by at least one parent that her son had been absent from school due to fears of what might happen.
“He just said that ‘Ma, I don’t feel comfortable. None of the kids that we go to school with are going today,'” Robin Redding, who has a son in 12th grade, told the news agency.
America’s gun violence epidemic:Oxford High, Michigan’s 28th School Shooting of 2021
The suspect, a sophomore from the Village of Oxford whom authorities have not identified, was in class during the day, McCabe said. It was a 9mm Sig Sauer Sp 2022 pistol. Bouchard said the teen was arrested with seven rounds still in a magazine and one in the chamber.
The suspect invoked his right not to speak to investigators and requested a lawyer. He was being held at the county’s juvenile detention facility and was under suicide watch, County Executive David Coulter said Tuesday night.
Who was killed, injured in the Oxford shooting?
Tate Myre died in a patrol car as a deputy rushed him to a hospital, Bouchard said. Justin Shilling passed away Wednesday, at a local medical facility.
7 people, including a teacher were hurt. Bouchard said most of the remaining gunshot victims were stable but some remained in critical condition. Police had said a 14-year-old girl was placed on a ventilator after surgery and the 47-year-old teacher was discharged after being treated.
A post on the Twitter page for Oxford High School’s football team said Tate had been a varsity football player since his first year and was an honor student. Tate was a brilliant young man who had a bright future. Everyone loved him. Tate, you will be missed,” was the message.
He was “a great football player, with bright futures. And he was even more of a young man on the field than he was playing.” Read another tweet.
The school’s women’s basketball team tweeted that Hana St. Juliana was a dedicated member of the program. “We won’t forget your generous spirit, funny personality and love of the game. … This season we play for you Hana,” the Read the post.
McDonald said Hana also played volleyball and that her father called her “one of the happiest and most joyful kids.”
Madisyn Baldwin was 17 years old when her grandmother called her a talented artist. Madisyn was patient and “so kind,” her grandmother told the TV station.
McDonald added Madisyn was also a big sister.
Justin Shilling (17) was co-captain for the Oxford bowling team. He is also a golfer.
Find out more about the Oxford communityAfter the shooting massacre at Michigan’s high school, a town organizes prayer vigils.
What happened at Oxford High School during the shooting
At 12:51 p.m. Tuesday, police dispatchers received a 911 call for an active shooter at Oxford High School. There were more than 100 calls. McCabe reported that within 5 minutes, the suspect had been arrested by Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputies.
Bouchard reported that the surveillance footage from the school recorded the suspect emerging from a toilet with a firearm.
McCabe claimed that everyone had taken shelter and the school was doing “everything right”. Barricaded doors and first responders’ quick action “saved lives,” Bouchard said.
Abbey said she and her classmates lined up along a wall and grabbed something to throw, also part of their active shooting training. But not long after, her teacher told them to jump out a window and run.
A video shared widely on social media from inside a classroom showed students hiding as they heard a knock on the door. A voice from outside the classroom said: “Sheriff’s office. It is safe to go outside. Inside, a person replied, “We’re not willing to take that risk right now.”
The voice from outside said, “It’s okay.” Open the door. You’re fine, bro. Pandemonium broke out when students saw the outsider use the term “bro”. Some called it “red flag” as a sheriff’s deputy wouldn’t likely use the term “bro” in such a situation. As they made their escape, a deputy from the sheriff greeted them at another entrance in a courtyard.
Bouchard didn’t confirm the person in the video trying to enter the room was in fact the shooter but said, “A ruse like this wouldn’t have surprised me, given the way he was acting.”
Ashley Bales, a senior, didn’t realize the intercom call was real until she got a text from her sister. She and her classmates ran outside and down a slippery hill toward a Meijer grocery store during the shooting. She was struck in the face in the crush of people but was OK.
“It was hard for me because my sister was still in school,” she said.
Brandi Lawrey said she was on the phone with her daughter, Makenzie, 17, as she ran from the building while police officers directed her out. Lawrey said Makenzie’s class barricaded their door with tables and chairs, then squeezed into a far corner before they left the building.
Brandi Lawrey stated Wednesday that all the words from her text as well as the fear she voiced kept coming through her mind. “Makenzie feels devastated and broken. She’s scared.”
Tim Throne, superintendent of schools said that Oxford High does not have metal detectors. McCabe stated that the authorities were aware of the way the student obtained the weapon but did not provide any details.
McCabe said the district and superintendent work hard to keep the school’s 1,800 students safe, highlighting the fact that a deputy is assigned to the school and was involved in the suspect’s arrest.
What number of school shootings took place in this year’s?
There have been 28 school shootings this year, according to Education Week, which tracks shootings at schools in which there are any firearm-related injuries or deaths.
Twenty of those occurred in August when students returned to learning in person for the first-time since the outbreak. In 2020, there were 10 shootings.
In addition, the incident is the 651st in 2021 in which at least four people were shot, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Contributing: Khalil AlHajal, Elisha Anderson, Liz Shepard, David Jesse, Kristen Jordan Shamus and Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press; Michael Braun, Fort Myers News-Press; The Associated Press