Authorities in Michigan have named the three teenagers killed in Tuesday’s high school shooting, as detectives revealed progress in attempting to figure out a 15-year-old student’s motive for the deadly attack that wounded eight others, several of them critically.
Chilling cellphone video taken by one student at Oxford high school and posted to TikTok captures the shooter trying to gain access to a classroom by apparently pretending to be a member of law enforcement, before some of the students realize they are being duped and escape through a window to safety.
The three killed were named as Hana St Juliana, 14, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Tate Myre, 16, who died in a police car as officers tried to rush him to hospital after the tragedy unfolded on Tuesday afternoon.
On Wednesday morning, Michael Bouchard, the sheriff of Oakland county, said that the male suspect, a 10th grade student who was arrested without incident within two minutes of deputies arriving at the school in suburban Detroit, was not talking with detectives.
“His parents have asked for an attorney, and under Michigan law we can’t speak to a juvenile without parental permission, and they have refused that,” Bouchard told CNN’s New Day show on Wednesday.
“But we think we’ve got a path to get a lot of supportive information as to how and why this occurred. We’ve recovered some evidence that we’re now beginning to pore over.”
The evidence, the sheriff said, included “writings that contain some of his thoughts,” although he stressed the inquiry was still at an early stage with more than 1,800 students and staff to interview, and hours of video to assess. No charges have been filed yet.
“I’ve seen some of the actual video of the shooting itself and it’s clear he came out with the intent to kill people,” Bouchard said.
“He was shooting people at close range, oftentimes towards the head or chest. It’s just absolutely cold-hearted, murderous.”
The handgun used by the shooter was bought by his father last Friday, Bouchard said, raising the prospect of charges against his parents. A search warrant was executed on the family’s home overnight and various items removed for examination.
Bouchard said investigators recovered at least 30 shell casings from the scene, and that another seven rounds were found in the gun’s magazine with one in the chamber.
“The training of our people who went in immediately and within two minutes of arriving on scene had taken him into custody with a loaded, operable firearm … that saved lives," hy het gesê.
Another crucial piece of evidence appears to be the TikTok video, in which a male voice claims to be a law enforcement officer attempting to gain access to a classroom in which students are crouched on the floor hiding. Sheriff Bouchard said it appeared the shooter had tried to enter several of the locked or barricaded classrooms.
In the video, students become suspicious when the speaker, who isn’t seen but could be heard calling to the teenagers inside that it was safe to come out, uses the word “bro” in demanding they open the door.
“He said ‘bro,’ red flag,” one student is heard to say, as classmates begin frantically to clamber through a window and run across the snow-covered campus to safety in another building.
Intussen, the Oxford community, described by Bouchard as “very calm, soet, peaceful [en] quiet”, began to mourn those killed, and pray for the injured, including a 14-year-old girl who was still in hospital on life support on Wednesday morning.
Meer as 1,000 people attended a vigil at Lakepoint community church in Oxford, a township of about 22,000 mense, on Tuesday night. Lead pastor Jesse Holt told the crowd: “What do we say? What do we do? Where do we go? What our community was yesterday, we are no longer,” Michigan Live berig.
Leeann Dersa, an Oxford resident, 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. “We’ve had some tragedies with the young people dying through the years, and we’ve all come together and all helped each other and we’re still coming together with them and love them.”
According to students interviewed immediately after the incident, there had been vague threats “for some time now” about somebody wanting to shoot up the school, although authorities said the suspect was previously unknown to them.
The Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer, ordered flags on state buildings to half-mast, and spoke of an “unimaginable tragedy”.
“I hope that we can all rise to the occasion and wrap our arms around the families, the affected children and school personnel and this community,” the Democratic governor said at a Tuesday afternoon briefing.
“No one should be afraid to go to school, work, a house of worship or even their own home. Gun violence is a public health crisis that claims lives every day.”