OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Michigan (AP) – A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire on his Michigan high school on Tuesday, killing three students and injuring eight others, including at least one teacher, authorities said.
Oakland County Deputy Sheriff Mike McCabe told a news conference that investigators were still trying to determine the motive for the shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford Township, a community of about 22,000 people approximately 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Detroit.
McCabe said he was aware of allegations circulating on social media that there had been shooting threats at the school of about 1,700 students before Tuesday’s attack, but he cautioned against belief in this account until investigators can review it.
He also downplayed the significance of an incident in early November when a deer’s head was thrown from the school roof, which he said was unrelated to the shooting. The vandalism prompted school administrators to post two letters to parents on the school’s website this month, saying they were responding to rumors of the school threat but found none.
Authorities did not immediately release the suspect’s name, but McCabe said MPs arrested him minutes after he arrived at the school in response to a flood of calls to 911 about the attack, which s ‘is produced shortly before 1 p.m. automatic handgun and several magazines used to store the ammunition the suspect used in the attack.
“He fired several shots,” McCabe said. “Somewhere in the 15-20 zone.”
The three students who were killed were a 16-year-old boy and two girls, 14 and 17, McCabe said. Two of the injured were undergoing surgery at 5 p.m. and the other six injured were in stable condition, he said.
McCabe said the suspect’s parents visited their son where he is being held and advised him not to speak to investigators, as is his right. Police must seek permission from the parents or guardian of a minor suspect to speak to them, he added.
Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald released a statement Tuesday night saying her office expects to issue charges quickly and that an update will be given on Wednesday.
McCabe said he was not aware of any run-ins between the suspect and law enforcement or if he had a disciplinary history at the school.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also spoke at the press conference, saying, “I think it’s every parent’s worst nightmare,” while choking.
President Joe Biden, before speaking at a community college in Rosemount, Minnesota, said, “As we learn all the details, my thoughts are with the families who experience the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one.”
The school was locked after the attack, with some children sheltering in locked classrooms while officers searched the premises. They were then taken to a nearby Meijer grocery store to be picked up by their parents.
Isabel Flores, a 15-year-old ninth student, told WJBK-TV that she and other students heard gunshots and saw another student bleeding in the face. They then fled the area through the back of the school, she said.
McCabe said investigators would review video footage from the school and examine social media posts for any evidence of a possible motive.
A worried parent, Robin Redding, said his son, Treshan Bryant, was in grade 12 at school but stayed home on Tuesday. She said he had heard threats that there might be a shooting.
âIt couldn’t be just random,â she said.
Redding did not provide details of what her son heard, but expressed concern about school safety in general.
âThe kids, like they’re just mad at each other in this school,â she said.
Bryant said he texted several younger cousins ââin the morning and said they didn’t want to go to school, and he had a bad feeling. He asked his mother if he could do his homework online.
Bryant said he had heard vague threats “for a long time now” about plans for a shooting.
âYou’re not supposed to play about it,â he said of the threats. “This is real life.”
According to a November 4 letter from Principal Steve Wolf, someone threw a deer’s head in a yard from the roof of the school, painted several windows on the roof with red acrylic paint, and used the same paint on concrete near the school building.
Without making specific reference to this incident, a second article from November 12 assured “that there was no threat to our building or to our students.”
âWe are aware of the many rumors that have circulated in our building this week. We understand this has created some concern for students and parents, âthe administrators wrote. âPlease be aware that we have reviewed all concerns shared with us and investigated all of the information provided. Some rumors have evolved from an incident last week, while others do not appear. Student interpretations of social media posts and fake news have exacerbated the overall concern. “
McCabe said the deer head incident was “absolutely unrelated” to Tuesday’s shooting.
âIt was a different incident, a different student,â he said.
Associated Press editors Corey Williams in West Bloomfield, Michigan, Kathleen Foody in Chicago, and Josh Boak in Rosemount, Minnesota contributed to this report.
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