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School knew about but ignored shooter’s threats; 4th child dies

Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan. (Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press/TNS)
December 01, 2021

The 15-year-old student that opened fire in a Michigan high school some 30 miles from Detroit on Tuesday had been making threats and displaying “concerning” behavior before the shooting, but was dismissed and ignored by the school district, new information revealed Wednesday.

A fourth teenager died on Wednesday and seven others were reported injured – some critically. The suspect was identified as Ethan Crumbley, who was charged as an adult on Wednesday for terrorism, murder, and attempted murder for the mass shooting.

Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said a “mountain of digital evidence” showed that the shooting carried out by Crumbley was premeditated. “This was not just an impulsive act,” McDonald added.

In Crumbley’s first court appearance on Wednesday, Oakland County Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Willis said Crumbley recorded a video discussing shooting and killing students the night before he carried out the shooting spree, Associated Press reported.

The deceased students were identified as 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin and 17-year-old Justin Shilling.

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said the school called Crumbley’s parents on Tuesday because their son had displayed “concerning” behavior in the classroom. Crumbley stayed in school, however, and carried out the shooting hours later.

After the shooting, law enforcement learned social media posts had indicated threats of a shooting at the school. Crumbley had reportedly posted online with photos of the handgun he later used, in addition to photos of students he intended to target.

Oxford High School officials had known of threats to the school and addressed them in a statement to parents on November 12.

The statement addressed circulating “rumors …. that has created some concern for students and parents,” and stated that “there has been no threat to our building nor our students.”

The statement added that there were “numerous highly-trained professionals who work to keep our building safe and secure,” and specifically mentioned “two highly-trained security guards and an Oakland County Resource Officer on site.”

On November 4, the school issued a statement to parents insisting of “no present threat of danger” after a student vandalized the school with red paint and left the head of a deer on campus. It’s unclear if that incident was related to Crumbley or the later threats.

Numerous students were aware of the threats this week, and multiple parents told Detroit Free Press that they kept their children home from school as a result.

One concerned parent told the Associated Press that she kept her 12th-grade son home from school Tuesday over the shooting threats, and her son said he’d heard the shooting threats “for a long time now.”

Bouchard said a 9mm Sig Sauer SP handgun and three 15-round magazines were confiscated from the scene, and at least 30 rounds were fired. The gun was purchased by Crumbley’s father on Black Friday last week, and investigators believe Crumbley had brought the gun to school before Tuesday.

McDonald said charges were being considered against Crumbley’s parents, adding, “Owning a gun means securing it properly and locking it and keeping the ammunition separate.”

Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe told reporters after the shooting that Crumbley had invoked his right to remain silent once taken into custody.

“It’s a very tragic situation,” McCabe said. “There was an orderly evacuation, the school did everything right. Everybody remained in place. They barricaded themselves.”