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Student arrested in shooting that left 3 dead and 8 wounded at Michigan school

Two students hold candles at a vigil
People attend a vigil for victims of the school shooting in Oxford Township, Mich., on Tuesday.
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school, killing three students, including a 16-year-old boy who died in a deputy’s patrol car on the way to a hospital, authorities said.

Eight other people were wounded, some critically, including a 14-year-old girl who was placed on a ventilator after surgery. Investigators were still trying to determine a motive for the shooting Tuesday at Oxford High School, which sits in a community of about 22,000 people roughly 30 miles north of Detroit, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.

“The person that’s got the most insight and the motive is not talking,” Bouchard said at a news conference late Tuesday.

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Deputies rushed to the school around lunchtime as more than 100 calls flooded 911 dispatchers with reports of a shooter. They arrested the student in a hallway within minutes of their arrival. He put his hands in the air as deputies approached, Bouchard said.

The boy’s father on Friday bought the 9-millimeter Sig Sauer used in the shooting, Bouchard said. He didn’t know why the man bought the gun, which his son had been posting pictures of and practicing shooting, Bouchard said.

Authorities didn’t immediately release the boy’s name.

A map showing where Oxford High School is in Michigan.
(Associated Press)

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. Bouchard said Myre died in a patrol car as a deputy tried to get him to an emergency room.

A teacher who was grazed in the shoulder has left the hospital, but seven students ranging in age from 14 to 17 remained hospitalized through the night with gunshot wounds, he said.

The gun the boy was carrying had seven more rounds of ammunition in it when he surrendered, Bouchard said.

Undersheriff Mike McCabe said the student’s parents advised their son not to talk to investigators. Police must seek permission from parents or a guardian to speak with a juvenile, he added.

According to an investigation by The Times, the theft of 44 guns from an L.A. gun store has spurred a cascade of allegations against LAPD officers and a roiling department scandal.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said in a statement that her office expects to issue charges quickly and that an update would be given Wednesday.

Authorities were made aware of posts on social media that said there had been threats of a shooting at the 1,700-student school, but Bouchard said they didn’t know about the rumors until after the attack.

He stressed how crucial it is for such tips to be sent to authorities, while also cautioning against spreading social media rumors before a full investigation.

McCabe also downplayed the significance of an incident in early November when a deer head was thrown off the school roof, which he said was “absolutely 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 a threat against the school but had found none.

Los Angeles follows San Francisco and San Diego in banning the generally homemade weapons.

Bouchard said that the student in custody had no previous run-ins with his department and that he wasn’t aware of any disciplinary history at school.

“That’s part of our investigation, to determine what happened prior to this event and if some signs were missed, how were they missed and why,” he said.

Authorities said they were searching the suspect’s cellphone, school video footage and social media posts for any evidence of a possible motive.

The school was placed on lockdown after the attack, with some children sheltering in locked classrooms while officers searched the premises. They were later taken to a grocery store to be picked up by their parents.

Students stand in a hall holding candles.
People attend a candlelight vigil for the shooting victims.
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

The district said in a statement that all of its schools would be closed for the rest of the week.

Isabel Flores, a 15-year-old ninth-grader, told WJBK-TV that she and other students heard gunshots and saw another student bleeding from the face. They then ran from the area through the rear of the school, she said.

Robin Redding said her son, Treshan Bryant, is a 12th-grader at the school but stayed home on Tuesday. She said he had heard about threats of a shooting at the school.

“This couldn’t be just random,” she said.

Bryant said he texted several younger cousins in the morning and they said they didn’t want to go to school, and he got a bad feeling. He asked his mom whether he could do his assignments online.

Bryant said he had heard vague threats “for a long time now” about plans for a shooting at the school.

At a vigil at Lakepoint Community Church on Tuesday night, Leeann Dersa choked back tears as she hugged friends and neighbors. Dersa has lived nearly all of her 73 years in Oxford, and her grandchildren attended the high school.

“Scared us all something terrible. It’s awful,” Dersa said of the shooting.

Pastor Jesse Holt said news of the shooting flooded in to him and his wife, including texts from some of the 20 to 25 students who are among the 400-member congregation.

“Some were very scared, hiding under their desks and texting us, ‘We’re safe, we’re OK. We heard gunshots, but we’re OK.’ They were trying to calm us. At least, that’s how it felt,” he said.

Associated Press writers Corey Williams in West Bloomfield, Mich., Kathleen Foody in Chicago, Josh Boak in Rosemount, Minn., and David Aguilar in Oxford Township contributed to this report.


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