The suspect first said, "Sheriff's office, it's safe to come out." But when the students said they're not going to come out, he said "come to the door and look at my badge, bro."
Trigger Warning: This story discusses gun violence and mass shooting that may be disturbing to readers.
A 15-year-old boy reportedly opened fire in a school with a semi-automatic pistol his father had purchased days earlier in Oxford, Michigan, killing three fellow students and wounding eight other people before he was arrested, authorities said. The tragic incident unfurled at Oxford High School, report Reuters. More than 100 calls for assistance were made by terrified students and teachers taking cover inside the school, authorities said.
The three teens fatally shot were identified as 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, 17-year-old Tate Myre, and 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin. Out of the eight people that were wounded, one was a teacher.
He reportedly pretended to be a law enforcement official and tried to persuade students to leave the classrooms where they were hiding, according to FOX2 Detroit. One student’s parent told the news outlet that said his son climbed through a window in order to leave the classroom where he had taken cover.
“They were impersonating sheriffs there trying to get into the door,” the parent revealed. “My son was actually barricaded under a desk, they were actually knocking on the door trying to get into his classroom.”
A video captured by one of the students in the classroom, shows all of them huddled together, worried about their safety. From the other side of the door, someone yells "Sheriff's office, it's safe to come out." Immediately, one student said they "we're not willing to take that risk right now." The voice on the other side said "come to the door and look at my badge, bro."
The fact that the word "bro" was used was enough to convince the students that it was definitely not safe. "He said bro. Red flag," one student said. The students immediately ran out of an open window and across an outside courtyard. On the other side of the courtyard, there was an officer inside the door and said "you're fine".
My heart goes out to the families of all those in Oxford, Michigan experiencing the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one. I’m remaining in close touch with my team as new information about this tragic school shooting surfaces.— President Biden (@POTUS) November 30, 2021
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told a news briefing hours after the rampage that investigators were at a loss to explain what might have precipitated "an unspeakable and unforgivable" act of violence. Meanwhile, the suspect—a high-school sophomore— was disarmed and taken into custody just moments after the shooting began, has declined to speak with investigators after his parents retained a lawyer, and denied authorities permission to interview their son, Bouchard added.
"The person who's got the most insight on motive is not talking," the sheriff told reporters.
Bouchard then mentioned that he was unaware of any previous run-ins with law enforcement by the suspect, and added there was "nothing to suggest that there had been disciplinary issues or problems with him at school."
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on high school shooting that has left at least three students dead: “As Michiganders, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect each other from gun violence." https://t.co/GF0CmmolUx pic.twitter.com/1kdKWrkJX6— ABC News (@ABC) December 1, 2021
Bouchard then added that his team arrived on the scene in minutes and proceeded straight toward the sound of gunshots, and prevented a much higher casualty toll. The officials confronted the suspect as he was advancing down the hall with a loaded weapon, but he put his hands over his head and surrendered when he saw the cops, Bouchard said.
Though it is unclear as to what exactly happened, they believe the boy carried the weapon into the school in a backpack, the sheriff said. "The only information I have is that he came out of a bathroom with a weapon, and I don't know where he went first," Bouchard said.
For now, the 15-year-old suspect, whose name was withheld by authorities because he is a minor, was being detained in a special cell under suicide watch at a juvenile detention center, Oakland County Executive David Coulter said. The cops will turn over the findings of their investigation to prosecutors, who will then decide what charges to bring and whether the suspect would be charged as an adult or a juvenile, the sheriff said.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Matthew Hatcher