Boy, 15, charged with gunshot death at Michigan high school: NPR

Students hold candles during a prayer vigil following Tuesday’s shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan.

Jake May / The Flint Journal via AP

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Jake May / The Flint Journal via AP

Students hold candles during a prayer vigil following Tuesday’s shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan.

Jake May / The Flint Journal via AP

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Michigan – A 15-year-old boy was charged Wednesday with murder, terrorism and other charges over a shooting that killed four classmates and injured others at Oxford High School in Michigan.

Charges against Ethan Crumbley were announced on Wednesday, hours after authorities reported the death of a fourth teenager at the Southeast Michigan school. Crumbley is charged as an adult with one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first degree murder and seven counts of assault with intent to kill.

Prosecutor Karen McDonald did not disclose a possible motive for Tuesday’s shooting at Oxford High School, located in a community of about 22,000 people about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Detroit. However, she said prosecutors were “confident” that they could show the crime was premeditated.

“There is a mountain of digital evidence. Videotape, social media, all the digital evidence you can get,” she said.

MPs rushed to the school around lunchtime and arrested the suspect in a hallway within minutes. He raised his hands in the air as MPs approached, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a press conference on Tuesday.

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 and practiced shooting, said Bouchard.

The four students who were killed were identified as Tate Myre, 16, Hana St. Juliana, 14, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17, 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.

After the attack, authorities became aware of social media posts reporting threats of shooting at the school of around 1,700 students. The sheriff stressed how crucial it is for such advice to be sent to authorities, while also warning against spreading rumors on social media before a full investigation.

McCabe downplayed the importance of a situation that arose in early November when a deer’s head was thrown from the school roof, which he said was “absolutely unrelated” to the shooting. The incident prompted school administrators to post two letters to parents on the school’s website, saying they were responding to rumors of a threat to the school but found none.

Bouchard said the student detained in the shooting had never been in trouble with his department and was not aware of any disciplinary history at the school.

“This 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,” he said.

The district said in a statement that all schools will be closed for the remainder of the week.

Isabel Flores, a 15-year-old ninth grade student, told Detroit TV station WJBK 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.

A worried parent, Robin Redding, said her son, Treshan Bryant, a grade 12 student, stayed at home on Tuesday after hearing threats of a possible shooting.

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

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

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.

“We’ve all scared something terrible. It’s awful,” Dersa said of the shooting.

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

“Some were very scared, hiding under their desks and texting us: ‘We’re safe, everything is fine. We heard gunshots, but we are fine.’ They were trying to calm us down, at least that’s how we felt, “he said.

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