The Oxford High School students killed were Tate Myre, 16; Hanna St. Julian, 14, and Madisyn Baldwin, 17, according to Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.
Eight others – seven students and a teacher – were shot dead, Bouchard said. Three are in critical condition with gunshot wounds, including a 14-year-old girl who is on a ventilator after undergoing surgery. A 14-year-old boy is in serious condition with a gunshot wound to the jaw and head, Bouchard said. Three students are in stable condition and the teacher who was shot has been fired.
“I think it’s every parent’s worst nightmare,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who added that school shootings are “a unique American problem that we need to tackle.”
“My heart goes out to the families. It is an unimaginable tragedy. I hope we can all seize the opportunity and put our arms around the families, affected children and school staff and this community,” said Whitmer.
There have been several other non-fatal injuries sustained by people as they rushed out of the school, Bouchard said. Most were treated and released in an assembly area, he said.
The suspect, a sophomore at the school, was taken into custody without incident two to three minutes after authorities responded to the shooting, Bouchard said. His parents hired a lawyer and did not allow him to speak to the police, said Deputy Sheriff Michael G. McCabe.
The suspect is being held at the Oakland County Children’s Village – a juvenile detention center – and is on suicide watch where he is checked every 15 minutes, said David Coulter, Oakland County Director.
How the shooting unfolded
At a press conference Tuesday night, Bouchard gave more details about the shooting.
The semi-automatic handgun recovered by law enforcement was purchased by the suspect’s father on Friday, he said.
The weapon, a 9MM Sig Sauer SP2022 pistol that was loaded at the time of its confiscation, still contained seven rounds, Bouchard said.
A video camera in the school showed the gunman “came out of the bathroom with the gun,” but it was not clear where the gunman went next, the sheriff said.
The police arrived at the school a few minutes after the emergency calls concerning the shooting.
“As they were walking down the hall, they saw him. He raised his hands, they took a gun and they took him into custody,” Bouchard said.
A deputy loaded Myre into their car, but the 16-year-old died on the way to the hospital, the sheriff said. A dispatcher also lost a relative in a shootout.
“It touches us all personally and deeply and will remain so for a long time. This injury will never go away, ”said Bouchard.
Authorities have recovered several shell casings from the school and believe around 15 to 20 shots were fired. There is no indication that the suspect was wearing a bulletproof vest, McCabe said earlier Tuesday.
“At the moment, we believe he acted on his own,” McCabe said. He said authorities were aware of how the suspect allegedly brought the weapon into the school, but declined to release details.
All of the evacuated students were transferred to a nearby store to be reunited with relatives. About 25 agencies and nearly 60 ambulances responded, according to John Lyman, public information officer for the Rochester Hills Fire Department.
The families of the victims have been notified. It is currently not known whether the three students killed were targeted, McCabe said.
“We did three sweeps of the school to make sure there are no other casualties,” he said. “We have no motive at the moment. We are still investigating this.”
A search warrant was executed at the suspect’s home, McCabe said. Bouchard said authorities seized a phone and examined other seized items.
Although Bouchard said authorities were not aware of previous concerns, they are also investigating photos of a target and the weapon posted on social media by the suspect.
McCabe said the suspect could be charged as an adult, but that falls under the Oakland County District Attorney’s office. Prosecutor Karen D. McDonald said in a statement Tuesday that her office had “begun the process of receiving information regarding the investigation” into the shooting.
“I was both horrified and saddened to learn of the Oxford High School shooting this afternoon. My office and I have been in constant communication with the Sheriff’s Office, Oakland County Juvenile Court and other government and law enforcement agencies, ”McDonald said. “We intend to examine it thoroughly and to issue appropriate charges promptly.”
Oxford Schools Superintendent Tim Throne told the press conference that the shooting shocked him. “It’s devastating,” he said.
Throne declined to comment on why there were no metal detectors in the school, but said that to his knowledge, metal detectors had never been mentioned in the conversation prior to the shooting.
“The vast majority of schools in America don’t have metal detectors,” Bouchard said.
Student says he barricaded himself in class
Aiden Page, a high school student at Oxford High School, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday that the gunman was so close to his classroom that a bullet pierced one of the desks Page and other students were using to barricade the door.
Page said everything had shifted into high gear when he, other students and his teachers heard two gunshots.
“We heard two gunshots and after that my teacher ran into the room, locked it, we barricaded ourselves and then covered the windows and hid,” he said.
The class was closed for an hour, Page said. Meanwhile, some students armed themselves with whatever they could find.
“We grabbed calculators, we grabbed scissors just in case the shooter got in and we had to attack them,” he said. “Some were crying, some were trying to support others. Others were trying to come up with ideas just in case.”
Page said the whole experience was “crazy” and he wondered if he would survive the ordeal.
“The very first thing in my head was, ‘Is this really happening? I’m going to text my family, say I love them just in case, if I were to die.’ Then when everything calmed down for a second, I was able to catch my breath and streamline things, ”he said.
“It will definitely be strange to come back, especially knowing that people have been injured and a few students have also died.”
President and state officials react to shooting
“You have to know that this whole community must be in shock right now,” Biden said.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said her department offered assistance to local law enforcement and expressed “sincere gratitude” to first responders at the scene.
“My heart goes out to the parents who have lost their children and to the students, teachers, staff and families reeling from the tragedy of a school shooting in their community,” said Nessel. “We must act to properly address gun violence in our schools and the continuing threat of another unacceptable tragedy if we continue to offer only thoughts and prayers. Our children deserve better.”
CNN’s Allie Malloy, Brian Vitagliano, Laura Ly, Jill Martin and Alex Harring contributed to this report.