Four students were killed and seven other people were injured in a shooting at a high school in Michigan on Tuesday, officials said. A15-year-old student was arrested and on Wednesday was charged with terrorism, murder, assault, and possession of a firearm.
Law enforcement received more than a hundred 911 calls about the shooting at Oxford High School, with the first coming at 12:51 p.m., Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said at a news conference. Approximately five minutes after the first call came in, the school's liaison deputy and another deputy took the 15-year-old, a sophomore at the school, into custody, he said.
The students who were killed were identified late Tuesday as Tate Myre, 16, Hana St. Juliana, 14, and Madisyn Baldwin, 17. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said Myre died in a deputy's car while they were trying to transport the boy to a hospital. Another student, Justin Shilling, who was being treated at the hospital for his injuries, died on Wednesday, the sheriff's office said. (Shilling's age is unconfirmed — police gave his age as 17, but the Oakland County prosecutor's office said he was 15.)
One of the people injured was a 47-year-old teacher, who has since been discharged from the hospital, officials said. The six others were students ranging in age from 14 to 17. All were being treated for gunshot wounds and were in varying conditions late Tuesday. One 15-year-old boy and two girls, ages 14 and 17, were in critical condition.
The suspect did not resist arrest and has invoked his right to remain silent, McCabe said, telling reporters that his parents have hired an attorney and told him not to speak with police. He was being held at a juvenile detention center in Pontiac, Michigan, Bouchard said.
Authorities also retrieved a loaded semiautomatic handgun from the teen, according to Bouchard, who said he believed the intervention by the two deputies saved "what potentially could have been seven more victims."
Bouchard said the firearm was purchased four days ago by the suspect's father. Officials have not yet publicly identified the teen because he's a juvenile and has not yet been charged as an adult. However, Bouchard confirmed that he had posted photos of the weapon and a target on social media. In one of those posts, the teen shared a photo of the weapon on Instagram with the caption, "Just got my new beauty today 😍 SIG SAUER 9mm. Ask any questions I will answer," according to a screenshot circulating online.
"It’s my understanding again that this was a recent weapon purchase that he had been shooting with it and had posted pictures of a target and a weapon," Bouchard said. "We’re going to do a deep dive on the social media and all the activities on this young man."
McCabe said the shooter fired 15 to 20 rounds, describing the crime scene as "fairly large." Authorities were executing a search warrant at his home.
The village of Oxford is about 45 miles north of Detroit. The school was well prepared in the event of a shooting, McCabe said; doors were marked, and students and teachers barricaded themselves.
"You never want to prepare for something like this, but you have to," he said.
On Wednesday, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald identified the shooter as Ethan Crumbley and said that he will be tried as an adult. Crumbley faces 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 commitment of a felony. He will be arraigned Wednesday afternoon, McDonald said.
Gun violence in the US has been labeled a public health crisis by the American Public Health Association. It is the leading cause of premature death in the country, responsible for more than 38,000 deaths annually. As of Nov. 30, at least 40,952 people have died from gun violence this year, data from the Gun Violence Archive shows.
The Oxford High shooting is the latest in a decadeslong string of deadly school shootings in the US. There have been at least 138 incidents of gunfire on school grounds this year, resulting in 28 deaths and 80 injuries, according to research from Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit advocating for gun control.
Investigators are still determining a motive for the shooting, but McCabe said they believe the teen acted alone.
"We don't know if [the victims] were targeted," he said. "We will get to the bottom of that as we get further into the investigation."
Bouchard said officials were hearing rumors that there may have been some kind of warning prior to the shooting, but nothing was ever reported to the sheriff's office.
"So if we find out there was information that's exactly the kind of thing we need to get and get looped into," he said.
During a news conference, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called the shooting "an unimaginable tragedy," adding that she was heartbroken for the Oxford High community.
"I hope we can all rise to the occasion and wrap our arms around the families, the affected children, and school personnel in this community," Whitmer said.
"This is every parent’s worst nightmare," she added later, getting emotional.
Speaking in Minnesota after touring a technical college, President Joe Biden said his heart "goes out to the families enduring the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one."
"You gotta know that that whole community has to be just in a state of shock right now," he added.
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