3 students killed in Michigan school shooting

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OXFORD CHARTER TOWNSHIP, Michigan – Students at Oxford High School, on the outskirts of Detroit, rushed to safety and barricaded classroom doors with chairs when they heard the first shots on Tuesday afternoon. In less than five minutes, authorities said, a 15-year-old sophomore at the school shot dead 11 people, killing three of his comrades and leaving others with serious injuries.

Authorities identified the dead as 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; and Tate Myre, 16, died in a sheriff’s police car on her way to hospital. The injured students were between 14 and 17 years old, officials said, with three in critical condition and one in serious condition. The only adult who was shot, a 47-year-old teacher, was released from the hospital.

“I was just sitting there shaking,” said Dale Schmalenberg, 16, who said he was calculating when his teacher heard a gunshot and locked the classroom. “I didn’t really know how to react. “

The Oxford High School rampage, north of Detroit in Oakland County, was the deadliest shootout on school property this year, according to Education Week, which tracks the shootings and reported 28 in 2021.

Students described hiding frantically in classrooms and fleeing the school after long minutes of terror. Distraught parents rushed to a local grocery store to find their children. Officials across the country have made statements of sadness and frustration as locals announce a vigil and prepare for the funeral.

“It’s devastating,” said Tim Throne, director of Oxford community schools.

Authorities received the first of 100 911 calls regarding the shooting at 12:51 p.m. Tuesday, said Michael McCabe, Oakland County Deputy Sheriff. Authorities said the shooter fired 15 to 20 shots with a semi-automatic handgun before being apprehended.

On Tuesday evening, a suspect – a student at the school who authorities have not identified – was being held in a juvenile prison as authorities served a search warrant at his family’s home in the village of Oxford, in Michigan.

Deputy Sheriff McCabe said the suspect, who was in class earlier on Tuesday, “gave up without any problem.” When the boy’s parents visited a sheriff’s substation, they refused to let investigators question their child.

Authorities said they did not believe the student had planned the shooting with someone else and that they were still investigating whether it was a random or targeted shooting.

County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said a Sig Sauer 9mm handgun used in the shooting was purchased four days earlier by the suspect’s father. Sheriff Bouchard said the gunman was still armed, with seven bullets in the gun, when he was stopped by lawmakers in a school hallway. Sheriff Bouchard said investigators learned the gunman was posing as an officer in order to gain access to boarded up classrooms.

In a statement, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer described gun violence as a “public health crisis,” adding: “No one should be afraid to go to school, to work, to a place of worship or even to their home. clean house. Now is the time for us to come together and help the children feel safe at school.

President Biden, speaking at an event in Minnesota, said: “My heart goes out to the families who suffer the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one,” adding: “This whole community must be in shock over this. moment.”

The shooting sparked outbursts of sympathy from Michigan politicians. State Attorney General Dana Nessel said his office had contacted local authorities and offered to help with the investigation.

“We must act to properly address gun violence in our schools and the continuing threat of another unacceptable tragedy if we continue to offer only thoughts and prayers,” Ms. Nessel said. “Our children deserve better.”

Elissa Slotkin, who represents the Township of Oxford Charter in Congress, said she was returning to the state.

“We must continue to pray and hope for the additional students and teachers who have been injured, and for the students who are in shock right now,” Ms. Slotkin said. said on twitter. “They will somehow have to figure out that one of their peers is doing this to them.”

Deputy Sheriff McCabe said the school was covered with security cameras and had worked with law enforcement on several occasions to organize active shooting exercises. A sheriff’s deputy and security guards were assigned to the building, and students described frequent lockdown drills. The deputy sheriff said one of the deputies who helped take the suspect into custody was assigned to patrol the high school full time.

“The school made sure we knew where to go, who to call and what to do,” said Eva Grondin, a 15-year-old sophomore who took active marksmanship training several weeks ago, and who fled from a hallway to a parking lot on Tuesday when she heard gunshots. “If we hadn’t had this training, I don’t know what would have happened.

The deputy sheriff said “the school did everything right”.

“Everyone stayed in place,” he said. “They barricaded themselves.

Students described times of chaos, the sound of gunfire and people running and screaming. A student said his brother texted him, saying he needed help and a gunman was nearby. But students also described scenes inside classrooms where teachers and students quickly followed protocols.

Brendan Becker, 17, said the teacher in his class reacted quickly to the sound of gunfire, locking the door with the students inside. “We just bombarded the door with a bunch of chairs, desks, whatever we could find,” he said.

Alysse Avey, a freshman, said she was in a biology class, laughing with friends when the shots rang out. “I went from laughing to crying in about a second,” she said. She said she huddled in a corner of the classroom with one of her closest friends, who was shaking.

“It was really traumatic,” she said, remembering the sound of gunshots making a sound that sounded like banging on lockers. “No one spoke, we didn’t shout or anything, we were just silent,” she said.

In recent weeks, a severed deer’s head has been found on the school grounds, after which school officials issued a statement seeking to quell the “many rumors circulating in our building.” Deputy Sheriff McCabe said the deer incident was unrelated to the shooting.

Sheriff Bouchard said he was aware of reports that rumors had circulated at Oxford High in the days leading up to the shooting, but said none of those reports reached his department.

The violence in Michigan comes after a reduction in school shootings earlier in the coronavirus pandemic, when some schools held distance learning courses. But massive school shootings have been a recurring tragedy in recent years. In 2018, a gunman killed 17 people and injured 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Later that year, a gunman killed 10 people at Santa Fe High School in Texas.

“This is a uniquely American problem that we need to tackle,” Whitmer said Tuesday.

Located in Oxford Charter Township, a small community in northern Oakland County, Oxford High School is the only high school in the Oxford Community Schools District that says it offers families a “feel of small town in metro Detroit “.

Fewer than 6,000 students in five townships and two villages in southeastern Lower Michigan are enrolled in the district. The school offers a program where students can earn college credit and earn an associate’s degree after graduation.

Aiden Page, an elder who was in the school at the time of the shooting, recalled how his statistics teacher immediately locked the door after gunshots rang out. He said the rest of the class helped put up a quick barricade and cover the windows before hiding into the room. Some students, he recalls, armed themselves with scissors as the teacher strolled quietly, checking them.

The report was provided by Christine chung, Maria cramer, Claire fahy, Jacey fortin, Dana goldstein, Giulia Heyward, Eduardo Medina and Jim Tankersley.

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