By a Biometrica staffer
On Tuesday (Nov. 30) afternoon, a 15-year-old sophomore who hasn’t been named yet by authorities opened fire at Oxford High School in Michigan. His shooting spree ended up leaving three fellow students dead and eight others wounded. The three students who were killed were identified as: 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, and 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin.
Among those wounded were seven students ranging in age from 14 to 17 who remained hospitalized with gunshot wounds as of late Tuesday night, according to a report by Associated Press. Those injured include a 14-year-old girl who was on a ventilator after surgery. A teacher is also said to have received a graze wound to the shoulder during the incident, and was discharged from the hospital.
CBS News said police responded to an active shooter at Oxford High School at 12:51 p.m. local time, according to Michael McCabe, the Oakland County undersheriff. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said investigators were still trying to determine a motive for the shooting, according to the Associated Press article.
Oxford High School is in Oxford Township, a community of about 22,000 people roughly 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Detroit. The handgun, allegedly a 9 mm Sig Sauer, authorities believe the 15-year-old used was purchased by the suspect’s father days ago. The suspect was taken into custody and was not injured.
Deputies arrested him within minutes of arriving at the school after he emerged from a bathroom with the gun, which supposedly still had seven rounds of ammunition left in it. Bouchard said the suspect had practiced shooting with the gun and “posted pictures of the target and the weapon.”
The suspect is not speaking with investigators and his family has hired an attorney, according to an NBC News report. “The person that’s got the most insight and the motive is not talking,” Bouchard said at a news conference, per Associated Press. When it comes to juvenile suspects, police are required to seek permission from parents or guardians to speak with them.
Bouchard said the suspect had no previous run-ins with his department and he wasn’t aware of any disciplinary history at school. However, media reports also speak of rumors doing the round before the incident. Bouchard said authorities were made aware of allegations circulating on social media that there had been threats of a shooting at the roughly 1,700-student school, but he said they didn’t know about it until after the attack.
Authorities said they were searching the suspect’s cellphone, school video footage and social media posts for any evidence of a possible motive.
He took the opportunity to stress, though, that it is crucial to send these kind of tips in to authorities, and cautioned against spreading social media rumors about the attack before a full investigation. Media reports also say there was an incident earlier at the school, early last month, where a deer head was thrown off the school roof. But Undersheriff Mike McCabe said that incident of vandalism was “absolutely unrelated” to the shooting and involved a different student.
The vandalism had, however, prompted school administrators to post two letters to parents on the school’s website saying they were responding to rumors of a threat against the school but had found none.
Oxford High School was placed on lockdown after the attack, with some children sheltering in locked classrooms while officers searched the premises, per Associated Press. They were later taken to a nearby Meijer grocery store to be picked up by their parents. The district said in a statement that all of its schools would be closed for the rest of the week.
Two separate, unrelated gun violence incidents also made headlines on Tuesday. In California, a security guard whose online posts talked about following a good and religious life remained jailed on suspicion of shooting to death his four children, including an infant, and their grandmother at their Southern California home.
In Atlanta, a man responsible for an accidental gun discharge at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport turned himself in to police. He set off the gun accidentally while grabbing for it during a bag search at the airport’s main checkpoint.