OXFORD, Michigan (AP) – A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school, killing three students, including a 16-year-old boy who died in an MP’s patrol car on his way to the hospital. the authorities said.
Eight more people were injured, some in critical condition, including a 14-year-old girl who underwent mechanical ventilation after surgery. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said investigators were still trying to determine the motive for Tuesday’s shooting at Oxford High School, located in an area with a population of about 22,000, about 30 miles (48 km) north of Detroit.
“The person who has the most understanding and motive does not speak,” he said at a press conference late Tuesday evening.
The deputies rushed to school for lunch, when 911 dispatchers received more than 100 calls with messages about the gunman. They arrested a student in the hallway a few minutes after arriving. He raised his hands in the air as the deputies approached, Bouchard said.
Bouchard said the boy’s father bought a 9mm Sig Sauer rifle on Friday, which they fired from. He did not know why the man bought a semi-automatic pistol, pictures of which his son posted and practiced shooting, Bouchard said.
The authorities did not immediately reveal the boy’s name.
The three murdered students are 16-year-old Tate Mayr, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana and 17-year-old Madisine Baldwin. Bouchard said Mayr died in a patrol car when a sheriff’s deputy tried to get him to the emergency room.
According to him, the teacher, who received an abrasion on his shoulder, left the hospital, but seven students aged 14 to 17 were hospitalized overnight with gunshot wounds.
Bouchard said the boy’s pistol had seven more rounds in it when he surrendered.
Sheriff’s Deputy Mike McCabe said the student’s parents advised their son not to talk to investigators. According to him, the police must obtain permission from the parents or guardian of the minor to talk with them.
Oakland County Attorney Karen MacDonald said in a statement that her office expects to press charges quickly and that new information will be released Wednesday.
Authorities became aware of social media posts that said there were gunfire threats at a school with approximately 1,700 students, but Bouchard said they were unaware of the rumors until the time of the attack.
He stressed the importance of sending such advice to the authorities, and also warned against spreading rumors on social media pending a full investigation.
McCabe also downplayed the situation in early November, when a deer head was thrown off the roof of a school, which he said had nothing to do with the shooting. The vandalism prompted the school administration to post two letters to parents on the school website saying they had responded to rumors of a threat to the school but found none.
Bouchard said the student in custody had no previous run-ins with his department and was unaware of any disciplinary history at the school.
“This is part of our investigation to determine what happened before this event, and if some signs were missed, how they were missed and why,” he said.
During the attack, the campus was blocked and some children took refuge in closed classrooms. They were later taken to the nearest Meijer grocery store to be picked up by their parents.
The district said in a statement that all schools will be closed for the rest of the week.
Isabelle Flores, a 15-year-old ninth grader, told WJBK-TV that she and other students heard gunshots and saw another student bleed. They then ran from the area through the back of the school, she said.
Authorities said they searched the suspect’s cell phone, school videos and social media posts for any evidence of a possible motive.
In November, the school posted two letters to parents on the school website saying they were responding to rumors of a threat against the school following a bizarre incident of vandalism.
According to a November 4 letter from Principal Steve Wolfe, someone threw a deer head into the courtyard from the school roof, painted several roof windows with red acrylic paint, and used the same paint on concrete outside the school building during the early period. morning hours. In a second message, dated November 12, without reference to the incident, “there was no threat to our building or our students.”
Both the sheriff and the junior sheriff stressed that Tuesday’s shooting was not related to the deer’s head or any earlier investigation by their office.
“It was a different incident, a different student,” McCabe said.
Concerned parent Robin Redding said her son Treshan Bryant is in 12th grade at the school, but stayed at home on Tuesday. Redding said her son had heard threats of possible gunfire.
“It couldn’t be just random,” she said.
Bryant said that in the morning he texted several younger cousins and they said they didn’t want to go to school and had a bad feeling about it. He asked his mom if he could do his assignments online.
Bryant said he had heard vague threats about shooting plans “for a long time.”
At a Tuesday night vigil at LakePoint Community Church, Leanne Dersa held back tears as she hugged friends and neighbors. Dersa lived almost all of her 73 years in Oxford. Her grandchildren attended high school.
“He scared us all with something terrible. It’s terrible, ”Dersa said of the shooting.
Pastor Jesse Holt said news of the shooting reached him and his wife, including reports from 20-25 students who make up the 400-member congregation.
“Some were very scared, hid under tables and wrote to us: ‘We are safe, we are all right.’ We heard shots, but it’s okay. ” They tried to calm us down, or at least they did, ”he said.
Associated Press contributors Corey Williams of West Bloomfield, Michigan, David Aguilar of Oxford, Kathleen Foody of Chicago, and Josh Bowk of Rosemount, Minnesota contributed to this report.