OXFORD — Police said four students were killed and seven others injured during a shooting incident at Oxford High School on Tuesday, Nov. 30.
With another school shooting also happening on Nov. 30 in Tennessee, these two incidents combined mark 29 school shootings nationwide this year and 21 of those incidents have occurred since August.
Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe said that starting at around 12:51 p.m. on Nov. 30, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office received more than 100 calls to dispatch about an active shooter at Oxford High School, which has roughly 1,800 students.
Deputies responded to the school as cars were dispatched at 12:52 p.m. and within five minutes of the first 911 call, the suspected shooter, Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old sophomore, was taken into custody.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said that the firearm used in the attack was purchased by the suspect’s father on Nov. 26. He also confirmed that the gun had seven more rounds in it when police apprehended the suspect.
The deputy assigned to the school and another deputy were responsible for making the arrest.
“He did not give us any resistance when he was taken into custody,” McCabe said. “He is currently being transported back to Pontiac for potential — he’s already invoked his right to not speak, so he wants an attorney. He’s not telling us anything at this point in time.”
McCabe also said that the suspect did not fire shots at officers and they recovered a semi-automatic handgun from him. The suspect was not injured.
During the investigation, Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies learned that Oxford High School officials had met with Crumbley’s parents at approximately 10 a.m. the morning of the shooting due to “concerning” behavior, but Bouchard said that police were not notified of any potential warning signs until after the shooting.
“We received no information about this individual prior to the shooting,” he said. “We also were told that the school had some information or some contact with the individual. We had no information from the schools, but we have since learned that the schools did have contact with the student the day before and the day of the shooting for behavior in the classroom that they felt was concerning. In fact, the parents were brought in the morning of the shooting and had a face-to-face meeting with the school. The content of that meeting, obviously, is part of the investigation, but we did not learn of that meeting, nor of the content of that meeting, until after the shooting and during this investigation.”
No one should be afraid to go to school, work, a house of worship or even their own home. Gun violence is a public health crisis that claims lives every day. — Governor Whitmer
“It’s unfortunate that I have to report that we have three deceased victims right now, who are believed to be students,” McCabe said.
A 16 -year-old boy, a 14-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl were killed. According to Bouchard, one of the employees in the 911 center as part of the team taking the more than 100 911 calls lost a relative in the shooting.
The 14-year-old girl was identified as Hana St. Juliana, a volleyball and basketball player who was described as the “happiest and joyful kid” by her father to Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald.
The 16-year-old boy was identified as Tate Myre, a football superstar who was recently recognized for his abilities on the field. He was one of six players named to the Red Division Team in the “All-Oakland Activities Association.”
Many have reported that Myre was shot while trying to disarm Crumbley, allowing for other students to escape. A change.org petition has been started in an effort to get the football field renamed after him.
Myre succumbed to his injuries in a patrol car after a deputy, who recognized the severity of his wounds, put him in his patrol car to take him to safety.
The 17-year-old girl was identified by family as Madisyn Baldwin. She was a senior, the eldest of three siblings and had already been accepted into several colleges with full scholarships. She was described as an artist who loved to draw, read and write.
“It’s surreal,” said Baldwin’s grandmother, who remained anonymous, in an interview with WDIV. “It’s traumatizing. She touched so many people. She had so much patience. She was so kind.”
On Wednesday, Dec. 1, a fourth victim, 17-year-old Justin Shilling, succumbed to his injuries at McLaren Hospital in Pontiac. Shilling was co-captain of the bowling team and also golfed.
In addition to the four killed, seven others were shot during the incident, including one teacher.
The victims are a 14-year-old boy in serious condition with a jaw and hand gunshot wound, a 17-year-old girl in stable condition with a neck gunshot wound, a 15-year-old boy with a leg gunshot wound who has been discharged, a 17-year-old boy with a hip gunshot wound, a 47-year-old teacher who was discharged after being treated for a left shoulder gunshot wound, a 17-year-old girl in critical condition with a chest gunshot wound and a 14-year-old girl in stable condition with chest and neck gunshot wounds who had to be placed on a ventilator after getting out of surgery.
Bouchard said that he has assigned a deputy to each family indefinitely for as long as they need.
“This wound will never go away and we understand that,” he said. “We want the community to know that we are here for them. We will leave no stone unturned in making sure that this investigation is full and complete before it’s turned over to hold this individual accountable.”
Police also said the shooter fired around 15 to 20 shots and multiple shell casings were found in the school.
McCabe said that police believe the suspect acted alone and there are no other shooters or gunmen involved, but they will be checking social media and speaking with other students to confirm. Officials are also going to be researching for warning signs.
I want to say to one family tonight I am very sorry I could not bring your daughter home safely to you. I tried very hard to save her and could not. I am very brokenhearted that I could not. — Lake Orion police officer
McDonald confirmed in a statement that her office has “begun the process of receiving information regarding the investigation.”
“I was both horrified and saddened to learn about the shootings at Oxford High School this afternoon,” she said in a statement on Tuesday. “My office and I have been in constant communication with the Sheriff’s Office, the Oakland County Juvenile Court and other governmental and law enforcement bodies. It is our intent to review it thoroughly and issue appropriate charges quickly.”
On Wednesday, Dec. 1, McDonald announced charges against Crumbley. He is being charged as an adult and 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.
“Today is only the beginning,” McDonald said. “It’s possible there could be additional charges issued very soon when that investigation is reviewed and complete.”
She also said it is very possible that Crumbley’s parents may face charges as well.
During the arraignment, a judge entered a plea of not guilty for Crumbley and bond was denied. A detective also said that the suspect had made videos on his phone the night before where he talked about shooting and killing students at Oxford High School, and that a journal found in his backpack also mentioned shooting up the school.
Part of the school’s emergency plan involved using the nearby Meijer on Lapeer Road just north of the school as a meeting point. The store closed down to help police reunite students with their parents.
Officials did a second and third search of the school to ensure there were no other victims and there are at least 100 different detectives and support staff members at the scene.
Video: A student’s TikTok video showing students jumping out of the school’s first story window to flee to the main entrance for safety.
John Lyman, a public information officer for the Rochester Hills Fire Department, said about 25 agencies responded alongside the police department, nearly 60 ambulances were sent to the school, along with helicopters, because they weren’t sure how many people would need to be transported.
The community mourns
In a social media post, an officer with the Lake Orion Police Department wrote, “I want to take this moment to send my condolences to the Oxford High School students, staff and families of the students injured and were killed during this senseless act. I want to say to one family tonight I am very sorry I could not bring your daughter home safely to you. I tried very hard to save her and could not. I am very brokenhearted that I could not. From me and the Lake Orion Police Officers, we are brokenhearted for all of you that lost someone today.”
Governor Whitmer said in a press conference that this is a parent’s worst nightmare.
“My heart breaks for the students, teachers, staff and families of Oxford High School,” she said. “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.”
Whitmer also said that residents need to protect each other.
“As Michiganders, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect each other from gun violence,” she said. “No one should be afraid to go to school, work, a house of worship or even their own home. Gun violence is a public health crisis that claims lives every day. We have the tools to reduce gun violence in Michigan. This is a time for us to come together and help our children feel safe at school. My heart is with the parents who had their children taken from them today and with the entire community in Oxford.”
Attorney General Dana Nessel said that her department has offered assistance as well.
“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,” she said. “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.”
Whitmer ordered U.S. and Michigan flags within the State Capitol Complex and upon all public buildings and grounds throughout the state to be lowered at half-staff immediately and until further notice to honor and remember the victims.
We want the community to know that we are here for them. We will leave no stone unturned in making sure that this investigation is full and complete before it’s turned over to hold this individual accountable. — Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard
The school district announced that all schools in the district will be closed for the remainder of the week, issuing this statement on Nov. 30:
“Our school community is grieving a most horrific tragedy as an active shooter opened fire at Oxford High School at approximately 1 p.m. today. We are devastated to share that three of our precious students have lost their lives. Seven students and one staff member have been injured and are being treated for their injuries. As we face the unimaginable, we are grateful for the swift action of our first responders. The suspect was apprehended by Oakland County Sheriff’s Department and is in custody. Our school community will need everyone’s most sincere support during this tragic time.
“All schools in the district, including OELC, will be closed for the remainder of the week. The district crisis team is currently gathering to implement our response plan to support everyone in need in our school community. More details will be sent as they become available. A 24/7 resource and crisis helpline/text/chat is on hand now for anyone who would like to speak with professionally trained helpline volunteers from Common Ground at 800-231-1127. Below are some resources to help you navigate the difficult and necessary conversations with your family surrounding today’s tragedy: Talking to Children About Violence for Parents and Talking to Children About Violence companion Infographic and Talking to Children About Violence — Spanish Version. Please keep our Wildcat families in your thoughts and prayers.”
Oakland Schools said that there were social media posts claiming a copycat shooting was planned for other schools in the district.
“Oakland Schools is deeply saddened by the shooting that occurred Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021 at Oxford High School,” Superintendent Dr. Wanda Cook Robinson said in a press release. “Our heart breaks for the students, teachers, staff and families touched by this tragedy. The safety and security of students and staff is the priority of Oakland Schools and the 28-member districts that we serve. Oakland Schools has been made aware of social media posts claiming a copycat shooting is planned for other schools. Please know that we are taking this matter seriously and we are working with law enforcement. Oakland Schools has coordinated grief counseling support and mental health resources to help students, teachers and staff maneuver the days ahead. At this time, Oakland Schools does not have any additional information and will continue to support the Oxford community today and throughout their recovery.”