Oxford – Three students were killed on Tuesday and eight others were injured in an afternoon shooting at Oxford High School, law enforcement officials said.
The shooter, an unidentified 15-year-old sophomore, is in custody, Oakland County Deputy Sheriff Mike McCabe added at a press conference. He’s not hurt.
“The deputies confronted him, he had the gun on him and the deputies arrested him,” McCabe said, adding that the weapon was a semi-automatic handgun. âThe whole thing lasted five minutes.
McCabe, during a 5 p.m. press briefing, said the students killed included two women, aged 14 and 17, and a man, 16.
Among these injured, two are in surgery and their state of health is not known. The other six are in stable condition, “with various gunshot wounds,” he said. The injured are in three hospitals; McLaren Lapeer, McLaren Oakland Community Medical Center in Pontiac and St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac.
The victims have not yet been identified, but the Deputy Sheriff said a teacher was among those injured.
Crying Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer joined McCabe for the evening press conference, telling reporters “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare.”
“My heart goes out to the families. It is an unimaginable tragedy,” she said. “I hope we can all seize the opportunity and put our arms around the families.”
About 15 to 20 shots were fired and about 100 calls were made to 911, McCabe said. The shooter, he said, appears to have acted alone.
“There were no other guns, no other shooters,” McCabe added. “As far as we know.”
The deputy sheriff said the suspect was arrested by a deputy assigned to the site and another who arrived at the scene. As to how the suspect brought the weapon inside, McCabe said, “We know, but I’m not going to say it yet.”
The suspect has “already invoked his right not to speak; he wants a lawyer,” McCabe said. The suspect is staying at the Pontiac Children’s Village.
“We have to get parental permission to interrogate a minor, and we didn’t get it,” McCabe added.
The family hired a lawyer, McCabe added, and authorities obtained a search warrant for the teenager’s home, he said.
The White House said ahead of his tour Tuesday to Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minnesota, President Joe Biden was briefed on the school shooting in Oxford by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
“As we learn all the details, my thoughts are with the families who experience the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one,” Biden said shortly after 4:30 p.m. at the start of his remarks. “You must know that this whole community must be in shock right now.”
Biden’s roving team will remain in close contact with White House staff and provide regular updates to Biden as new information emerges, press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Students evacuated from the school were reunited with parents or relatives at the Meijer parking lot, 655 N. Lapeer Road, he said.
Just before 4 p.m., parents stood in front of the Meijer store while waiting to be reunited with their children. Nearby, other relatives found their daughters or sons and quickly got into their vehicles and left the scene.
Catherine Tebben, a 17-year-old high school student, said she was in “the passing time” between classes when the shooting occurred. She had just finished lunch.
âI walk, and almost to my classroom,â Tebben told The Detroit News. âI hear children running towards me, then gunshots ring out. “
Tebben said a friend of her boyfriend Josh Couch grabbed his hand and told him to run.
“I run and I see blood all over the ground. I run in the parking lot, get in my truck and drive here” to the reunification zone, she told The News.
It was a nerve-wracking experience that she said had left her shaking. Not only for what had happened, but for the uncertainty.
She did not immediately see Couch. But the 18-year-old quickly made it outside.
Couch plays on the soccer team and had yet to hear from several teammates. Now he faces his own uncertainty, he said.
âTrying to find our running back captain and linebacking captain now; I can’t find them anywhere, âCouch said. “Can’t nobody grab them?” “
Whitmer, in a statement released earlier Thursday, called the shooting “horrific.”
âMy heart breaks for the students, teachers, staff and families at Oxford High School,â Whitmer said in a statement. “… I want to thank the first responders on the ground who are working hard to keep people safe as law enforcement investigates this shooting and provides the community with the help it needs at this time. .
âAs Michiganders, we have a responsibility to do everything possible to protect each other from gun violence. No one should be afraid to go to school, to work, to a place of worship, or even to their own home. Gun violence is a public health crisis that claims victims every day. We have the tools to reduce gun violence in Michigan. Now is the time for us to come together and help our children feel safe at school. “
Oakland County Director Dave Coulter noted that the county’s emergency operations center has been activated to provide support to first responders and families in Oxford.
“The entire Oakland County community is in shock at this terrifying display of violence and our hearts are with the families of Oxford tonight,” Coulter said in a statement.
A mass of law enforcement officials from across the region descended on the Oakland County school, covering the roads with armed sheriff’s assistants, police vehicles, ambulances and other personnel from emergency.
Helicopters flew over Lapeer and Ray Roads near the school. Emergency responders could be seen bringing stretchers near the school on Tuesday.
Tim Throne, district superintendent, asked for prayers for students and families.
“Of course, I am shocked. It is devastating,” he said during the press briefing.
Throne said he had not yet been informed of the names of the victims. He declined to say why the school did not have metal detectors and said he did not remember the subject ever.
Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw said he believed it was the first active shooter situation in Michigan at a school in decades.
Six-year-old Kayla Rolland was shot and killed at Buell Elementary School in the Beecher School District by a 6-year-old boy on February 29, 2000.
Lawmakers representing communities in Oakland County released statements on Tuesday expressing their grief and shock at the shooting.
State Senator Rosemary Bayer, D-Beverly Hills, called the shooting “just gruesome.”
âIn addition to an already difficult situation with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our students now have to face this traumatic situation in a place that is supposed to be a safe space for learning and growth,â Bayer said.
âMy heart goes out to everyone involved. I am working with the local authorities to understand all the information and provide as much help as my office can, “she added.” I encourage anyone with information about this situation to share it with the police, and I thank our local stakeholders for their prompt assistance and response during this difficult time.
United States Representative Elissa Slotkin D-Holly added, who said she was returning to Michigan: âIt is a dark and painful day for Michigan. I extend my deepest condolences to the families of the three students who lost their lives – they received the worst news a parent could imagine.
“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. They will somehow have to understand that a of their peers do that to them. “
John Lyman, chief information officer for several fire departments in the area, said “60 units” had been dispatched to the scene.
Timothy Waters, spokesperson for the FBI office in Detroit, said federal law enforcement was playing a supporting role.
At Lapeer Schools, about 16 miles from Oxford High School, officials say they are in “safe mode” as a precaution.
Oxford High School is located north of the city of Oxford and approximately 45 miles north of the city of Detroit, southeast of Flint.
McCabe said Oxford High School has around 1,800 students.
Authorities plan to hold another briefing at 10 p.m.