Content warning: Gun violence, injury descriptions
UPDATE – As of 10 p.m. Tuesday
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office hosted a second press conference Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. with additional information regarding the shooting at Oxford High School Tuesday afternoon.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard released the names of the three deceased victims, all Oxford High School students: 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, 16-year-old Tate Myre and 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin.
Over 100 phone calls were received by the emergency dispatch starting at 12:51 p.m., according to Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe at the first press conference Tuesday at 5 p.m. The suspect was taken into custody within five minutes of the first 9-11 call, McCabe said.
Police cars were sent to the high school at 12:52 p.m. and arrived “minutes later,” according to Bouchard at the second press conference.
“Within two to three minutes of their arrival, they had a suspect in custody,” Bouchard said. “The first deputies on scene were joined by about 100 other deputies from the Sheriff’s Office, and shortly thereafter almost another 200 from area agencies, including numerous fire departments. I’ll give you a very detailed list of who showed up, so you can understand the partnership and the training that has gone into being prepared for a situation like today.”
In total, eight victims were injured, according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. Bouchard said these include:
- A 14-year-old female student who is in critical condition and on a ventilator following surgery for gunshot wounds to the chest and neck
- A 15-year-old male student who remains in critical condition with gunshot wounds to the head
- A 17-year-old female student who is in critical condition with a chest gunshot wound
- A 14-year-old male student who is in serious condition with gunshot wounds to the jaw and head
- A 17-year-old female student who is in stable condition with a neck gunshot wound
- A 15-year-old male student who is in stable condition with a gunshot wound to the left leg
- A 17-year-old male student who is in stable condition with a gunshot wound to the hip
- A 47-year-old female teacher who had a grazing gunshot wound to the left shoulder has been discharged from the hospital
The 15-year-old suspect, an Oxford High School sophomore, is currently being held in custody in the juvenile detention facility and is being placed on a suicide watch, Bouchard said. Since the suspect is a minor and has not been charged as an adult, Bouchard said the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office cannot release his identity.
The suspect’s motives still remain unclear at the time of the press conference, according to Bouchard. When taken into custody, the suspect declined to speak to law enforcement, and his parents have hired a lawyer and are refusing to let law enforcement question him, Bouchard said.
The weapon used in the shooting was a nine millimeter Sig Sauer SP 2022 pistol and was bought by the suspect’s father four days ago on Black Friday, Bouchard said. When the suspect was taken into custody, his weapon was loaded and contained seven rounds of ammunition, according to Bouchard. Two 15-round magazines were found at the crime scene, and the suspect fired at least 12 rounds, Bouchard said.
Though the exact sequence of events preceding the shooting are unclear at this point, Bouchard said the suspect was moving down a hallway when he was apprehended.
“That again, I believe, interrupted what potentially could have been seven more victims,” Bouchard said.
According to Bouchard, detectives from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office will go over all video captured on Tuesday from the school and will be individually interviewing everyone who was present during the shooting.
Bouchard said his office would be doing a “deep dive” on the suspect’s social media, when questioned by the press about previous posts the suspect had made.
“It’s my understanding that this was a recent weapon purchased, that he had been shooting with it and had posted pictures of a target and the weapon, that’s all part of what’s being looked at,” Bouchard said.
Bouchard confirmed that the weapon he described on social media appears to be the same weapon used in the shooting.
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office liaison in Oxford High School received no reports of prior concerns or threats, Bouchard said.
A video circulated on social media appears to show students at Oxford High School sheltering inside a classroom while a person outside the door claiming to be from the Sheriff’s Office tells them it is safe to come out. While an individual in the video responds “we’re not willing to take that risk right now,” students escape out of a window.
Deputies and officers searched the school and evacuated both injured and uninjured students and staff while searching for additional attackers, Bouchard said.
According to Bouchard, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Michigan State Police bomb squads responded to the scene following a full inspection of the building and checked a bag the police explosive unit had been alerted to as a potential threat. Bouchard said the suspect likely kept his weapon in that bag and ruled the bag was not a threat.
Processing the crime scene is expected to take the entire night, according to Bouchard.
ORIGINAL STORY – 9:03 p.m. Tuesday
Three students at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich. were killed early Tuesday afternoon after a 15-year-old sophomore student opened fire, reportedly wounding eight others, including a teacher.
The suspect is currently in custody and his motivations remain unclear; police have not released his name.
Police responded to the incident just before 1 p.m., sending more than 100 officers and multiple ambulances, according to Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe at a 5 p.m. press conference.
According to McCabe, the suspect had a semiautomatic handgun and fired more than 15 shots. The school was placed under lockdown, and students were later directed to a nearby Meijer where they were met by parents.
Student fatalities include a 14-year-old female, a 16-year-old male and a 17-year-old female, McCabe said at the press conference. Authorities have conducted three sweeps of the high school, and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office is executing a search warrant for the suspect’s home, McCabe said.
The violence at Oxford marks the first school shooting in a Michigan school in decades, Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw told the Detroit News. Shaw said this was one of the first active shooter situations he had experienced throughout his career.
Oxford High School is located in Oakland County, in southeast Michigan, approximately 45 miles north of Detroit and about an hour and a half drive from Ann Arbor. According to The Michigan Daily’s recent assessment of high schools with the most applicants to the University of Michigan, around 11 students who graduated from Oxford High School enroll at the University annually.
Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne said he was “shocked” and devastated in an afternoon press conference. There are some reports the school had received tips early this week about concerning behavior, with some students choosing not to attend school on Tuesday, and officials said they are currently looking through social media to see if any threatening posts were made in previous days.
State legislators have introduced at least 50 bills related to firearms in Lansing this year, none of which have been passed or reached Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk due to partisan gridlocks. Republicans seek to create new concealed carry exemption laws and eliminate penalties for carrying pistols without a permit. On the other side of the aisle, Democrats want to require universal background checks for firearm purchases and criminal penalties for adults who allow minors to possess firearms. 14 of these bills are bipartisan, some of which aim to keep firearms away from convicted domestic abusers and worsen punishments for perpetrators of drive-by shootings that injure children.
Whitmer released a statement Tuesday sharing condolences for the victims’ families and the community. She called gun violence a “public health crisis that claims lives every day.”
“My heart breaks for the students, teachers, staff, and families of Oxford High School,” Whitmer wrote. “The death of multiple students and the shooting of many others, including a teacher, is horrific. I want to thank the first responders on the ground working hard to keep people safe as law enforcement officials investigate this shooting and get the community the help it needs right now.”
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel also released a similar statement Tuesday afternoon, providing details of how her department will handle the case.
“My heart goes out to the parents who have lost their children and to the students, teachers, staff, and families reeling from the tragedy of a school shooting within their community,” Nessel wrote. “My department has reached out to local law enforcement to offer assistance as this investigation unfolds and I want to extend my sincere gratitude to first responders on the scene. We must act to properly address gun violence in our schools and the ongoing threat of another unconscionable tragedy if we continue to only offer thoughts and prayers. Our kids deserve better.”
President Joe Biden mentioned the shooting in a tweet Tuesday evening and expressed his empathy for the families impacted.
“My heart goes out to the families of all those in Oxford, Michigan experiencing the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one,” Biden wrote. “I’m remaining in close touch with my team as new information about this tragic school shooting surfaces.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-MI, also responded to the situation, expressing her condolences and referencing a hope for stricter gun laws.
“Praying for the students injured in today’s shooting at Oxford High,” Dingell wrote. “As we wait for more information from law enforcement, one thing is clear: this violence must stop.”
University Regent Jordan Acker (D) encouraged officials to take measures and prevent similar violence in the future in a Tuesday afternoon tweet, as well.
“I am crushed and saddened to hear this news from our neighbors in Oxford,” Acker wrote. “After we mourn this loss, we have to act to prevent these kinds of tragedies that are entirely preventable.”
Managing News Editor Liat Weinstein and Daily News Editor Emma Ruberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.