Three students were killed and at least eight others injured in a mass shooting at a suburban Michigan high school on Tuesday.
The suspected shooter, Ethan Crumbley, 15, was arrested by police in response to the incident at Oxford High School in Oxford Township, a community of 22,000 people 30 miles north of Detroit , and a semi-automatic handgun was reinstated.
On Wednesday, Mr Crumbley virtually appeared in court to hear charges of terrorism and first degree murder, to which he pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors accused him of walking “methodically and deliberately” through the halls of his school and shooting at his classmates.
The teenager was charged as an adult with one count of terrorism, four counts of first degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to kill, 12 counts of possession of a firearm in connection with the commission of a crime. Taken together, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.
Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald said the charges stemmed from “unmistakable” evidence the attack was premeditated.
County Deputy Sheriff Mike McCabe said the suspect offered no resistance when apprehended – within five minutes of receiving the first call to 911 – and that a reason for the attack had not yet been established, the boy having invoked his right to a lawyer. and refused to speak to the officers.
Mr McCabe said investigators plan to examine his social media posts for clues to a possible motive.
Because he is under 18, the suspect was initially taken into juvenile custody, but a judge on Wednesday granted the prosecution’s request to transfer him to Oakland County Jail because he could pose a threat to other minors.
The three students killed in the shooting were 16-year-old Tate Myre; Hanna St Julian, 14; and Madisyn Baldwin, 17.
Myre, a popular member of the school’s American football team who allegedly tried to disarm the shooter, succumbed to his injuries in a patrol car as an assistant attempted to rush him to hospital .
One of the injured victims is said to be a teacher at Oxford High and the others are students. All of the injured are currently being treated at local hospitals, said Mr McCabe, with six in stable condition and two admitted for surgery.
Tim Throne, the superintendent of Oxford community schools, told reporters: “I am shocked. It is devastating.
The Oakland County Deputy Sheriff was quick to praise the school’s stock, saying, “There was an orderly evacuation, the school did everything right. Everyone stayed in place. They barricaded themselves.
Creepy images subsequently emerging from the incident showed students running for the blanket and barred classroom doors as the shooter spoke in the hallways, being out of a bathroom around 12:51 p.m. and shooting between 15 and 20 shots of several magazines.
Police said Mr Crumbley used a Sig Sauer semi-automatic pistol his father had purchased four days earlier.
At at least one point, the gunman is seen knocking on doors pretending to be a police officer in an attempt to trick people into coming out into the hallway.
The students then told stories of their teachers getting them out of harm’s way and making calls to try to determine if the order to leave was just a training exercise or an actual active shooting incident.
Parents were told to avoid campus and meet their children in the parking lot of a nearby Meijer store.
Speaking to The Associated Press, Robin Redding, mother of 12th grader Treshan Bryant at Oxford, said: “It can’t just be random. The kids, like they’re just mad at each other in this school.
His son added that he did not attend classes on Tuesday because he had a bad feeling about the events of the day and said he had heard threats of fire “for a long time”.
“You’re not supposed to play about it,” he said. “This is real life.”
But Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard denied that any threats had been received in advance, commenting: “No prior information was shared with the sheriff’s office or the school resources manager prior to the incident.”
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a statement on Tuesday in response to the tragedy, offering condolences to the Oxford community, thanking first responders and speaking out on what she called a “crisis” of violence army.
“As Michiganders, we have a responsibility to do everything possible to protect each other from gun violence,” Governor Whitmer said.
“No one should be afraid to go to school, to work, to a place of worship or even to their own home. Gun violence is a public health crisis that claims victims every day. We have the tools to reduce gun violence in Michigan. Now is the time for us to come together and help our children feel safe at school.
President Joe Biden was kept apprised of the situation and said “his heart goes out to the families who suffer the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one.”
“You have to know that this whole community must be in a state of shock right now,” he said of Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minnesota.
Locals gathered for a candlelight vigil at Lakepoint community church on Tuesday evening to mourn the dead, with several people pictured breaking down in tears.
The Independent Gt