In another deadly school shooting in Michigan, a teenager shot and killed three fellow high school students and wounded eight other people on Tuesday afternoon. The 15-year-old shooter opened fire with a semi-automatic handgun at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan. He was arrested from the scene, holding the weapon.
Those killed were a 16-year-old boy, a 17-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl, said Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe. The Sherrif’s office said that one of the injured is a teacher and the rest are students.
The incident came to light when the police received a 911 call at 12.51 pm for an active shooter situation, according to a report in the Michigan-based daily Detroit Free Press. The police said that the suspect was taken into custody within about 5 minutes of the call. Police said that at least 12 shots were fired from the suspect’s gun, according to preliminary investigation.
Student Abbey Hodder told the Detroit Free Press she was in chemistry class when she heard the sound of glass breaking. “My teacher kind of ran out and was scrambling,” Hodder, 15, said. “The next thing I knew I saw he was pushing tables. It’s part of school protocol to barricade, so we all knew, barricade, barricade down. And we all started pushing tables.”
Isabel Flores, a 15-year-old ninth grader, told WJBK-TV that she and other students heard gunshots and saw another student bleeding from the face. They then ran from the area through the rear of the school, she said.
Video posted on social media showed students huddled in a barricaded classroom while someone outside shouts through the door that it is safe to come out, identifying himself as being with the sheriff’s office. But the teacher responds: “We’re not taking that risk,” and incredulous students who feared the shooter might have been trying to lure them into the hall escaped out a back window and were soon met by uniformed deputies.
Who is the shooter?
A 15-year-old high-schooler has been taken into police custody. Police have declined to name him as the suspect is a juvenile. A news report, quoting police officials, said that the suspect had been in class during the day and was seen by the policemen on scene with a handgun. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said police deputies arrested him after he emerged from a bathroom with the gun, which he said had seven rounds of ammunition still in it.
The gun used in the shooting is a 9mm Sig Sauer which was bought by the suspect’s father, said the sheriff, adding that he did not know why the man bought the gun. Bouchard said the suspect had practiced shooting with the gun and “posted pictures of the target and the weapon.”
The motive remains unknown as the suspect has refused to talk. Police say he has no prior record. They said they were searching the suspect’s cellphone, school video footage and social media posts for any evidence of a possible motive. “The person that’s got the most insight and the motive is not talking,” said Bouchard, according to the Associated Press.
Undersheriff Mike McCabe said the suspect’s parents visited their son where he’s being held and advised him not to talk to investigators, as is his right. Police must seek permission from a juvenile suspect’s parents or guardian to speak with them, he added.
The three students who were killed were 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, and 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin. Bouchard said Myre died in a patrol car as a deputy tried to get him to a hospital.
Bouchard said a teacher who received a graze wound to the shoulder was discharged from the hospital, but seven students ranging in age from 14 to 17 remained hospitalised with gunshot wounds, including 14-year-old girl who was on a ventilator after surgery.
There were signs, says parent
A parent of one the students in the school Robin Redding said her son, Treshan Bryant had stayed home Tuesday as he had heard threats that there could be a shooting. “This couldn’t be just random,” she said.
Bryant said he had heard unconfirmed threats “for a long time now” about plans for a shooting, reported the Associated Press. Bryant said he texted several younger cousins in the morning and they said they didn’t want to go to school, and he got a bad feeling. He asked his mom if he could do his assignments online.
Undersheriff McCabe said that the concerns of previous warning of such an incident are being investigated. “We’re hearing all kinds of rumors about warning signs. … There’s all kinds of stuff out on social media. Please don’t believe everything you hear and see on social media,” he said, according to a Detroit Free Press report.
US President Joe Biden said: “As we learn the full details, my heart goes out to the families enduring the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one.”
School shootings are worryingly common in the United States, whose gun control laws have been an issue of fierce debate, split along political lines.