OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) – A fourth student, a 17-year-old boy, died Wednesday from injuries he sustained when a sophomore opened fire at a high school in Michigan a day earlier , the authorities said.
The other dead included a 16-year-old boy who died in a deputy’s patrol car on his way to hospital. Eight people were injured, some seriously, including a 14-year-old girl who was placed on a ventilator after surgery.
Investigators were still trying to determine the motive for the shooting on Tuesday at Oxford High School, located in a community of about 22,000 people about 30 miles north of Detroit, the Oakland County Sheriff said, Michael Bouchard.
âThe person with the most insight and motive doesn’t speak,â he said at a press conference Tuesday night.
MPs rushed to school around lunchtime as more than 100 calls flooded 911 dispatchers with reports of a gunman. They arrested the student in a hallway a few minutes after their arrival. He raised his hands in the air as MPs approached, Bouchard said.
The boy’s father bought the 9mm Sig Sauer used in the shooting on Friday, Bouchard said. He didn’t know why the man bought the semi-automatic handgun, which his son had posted pictures of and practiced shooting, said Bouchard.
Authorities did not immediately release the boy’s name.
The four students who were killed were Tate Myre, 16, Hana St. Juliana, 14, Madisyn Baldwin, 17 and Justin Shilling, who died on Wednesday.
Bouchard said Myre died in a patrol car as an assistant tried to get her to the emergency room.
A teacher who received a scraped shoulder left the hospital, but seven students aged 14 to 17 remained hospitalized overnight with gunshot wounds, he said.
The gun the boy was carrying contained seven more rounds when he surrendered, Bouchard said.
Deputy Sheriff Mike McCabe said the student’s parents advised their son not to speak to investigators. Police must seek permission from the parents or guardian of a minor to speak with them, he added.
Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald said in a statement her office plans to press charges quickly and that an update will be given on Wednesday.
Authorities were made aware of social media posts claiming there had been threats of shooting at the school of around 1,700 students, but Bouchard said they were not aware of the rumors until after. the attack.
He stressed how crucial it is for such information to be sent to authorities, while also warning against spreading rumors on social media before a full investigation.
McCabe also downplayed the importance of a situation in early November when a deer’s head was thrown from 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, saying they were responding to rumors of the school threat but found none.
Bouchard said the student in detention had never been in trouble with his department and that he was not aware of any disciplinary history at the school.
âThis is part of our investigation to determine what happened prior to this event and if any signs were missed, how were they missed and why,â he said.
The campus was locked out during the attack, with some children sheltering in locked classrooms. They were then 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 will be closed for the remainder of the week.
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.
Authorities said they were looking for the suspect’s cell phone, school video footage and social media posts for any evidence of a possible motive.
School administrators had posted two letters to parents on the school’s website in November, saying they were responding to rumors of a threat to the school following a strange incident of vandalism.
According to a November 4 letter from Principal Steve Wolf, someone threw a deer’s head in a yard from the school roof, painted several windows on the roof with red acrylic paint, and used the same paint on concrete near the school building in the early morning hours. 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.”
Both the sheriff and the under-sheriff stressed that Tuesday’s shooting was unrelated to the deer head or any previous investigation by their office.
âIt was a different incident, a different student,â McCabe said.
A worried parent, Robin Redding, said his son, Treshan Bryant, was in grade 12 at school but stayed home on Tuesday. Redding said his son had heard threats that there could be a shooting.
âIt couldn’t be just random,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.
During a vigil Tuesday night at LakePoint Community Church, Leeann Dersa held back tears as she hugged her friends and neighbors. Dersa has lived almost all of her 73 years in Oxford. Her grandchildren attended high school.
âSomething terrible scared us all. It’s awful, âDersa said of the shooting.
Pastor Jesse Holt said news of the shooting had poured in him and his wife, including texts from some of the 20 to 25 students who are part of the 400-member congregation.
âSome were very scared, hiding under their desks and texting us, ‘We’re safe, it’s okay. We heard gunshots, but everything is fine. They were trying to calm us down, at least that’s how I felt, âhe said.