Deadly Michigan school shooting baffles police as young suspect stays silent

The suspect, whose name was withheld by officials because he is a minor, opened fire on Tuesday http://reuters.com/world/us/least-4-hurt-shooting-michigan-high-school-suspect-custody-report-2021-11-30 with a handgun his father had purchased four days earlier, killing three students in Oxford, Michigan, about 40 miles (65 km) from Detroit. Tate Myre, 16, died in a patrol car en route to a hospital.


Reuters | Updated: 01-12-2021 23:10 IST | Created: 01-12-2021 23:10 IST
Deadly Michigan school shooting baffles police as young suspect stays silent

Investigators were reviewing video and reading the writings of a 15-year-old boy on Wednesday as they sought clues to what drove him to go on a deadly shooting spree at his high school north of Detroit, where he killed four fellow students. The suspect, whose name was withheld by officials because he is a minor, opened fire on Tuesday http://reuters.com/world/us/least-4-hurt-shooting-michigan-high-school-suspect-custody-report-2021-11-30 with a handgun his father had purchased four days earlier, killing three students in Oxford, Michigan, about 40 miles (65 km) from Detroit.

Tate Myre, 16, died in a patrol car en route to a hospital. Hanna St. Julian, 14 and Madisyn Baldwin, 17, also died on Tuesday. A fourth student, 17-year-old Justin Shilling, died on Wednesday, the Detroit News reported. A teacher and six other students were wounded, some critically, authorities said.

By Wednesday morning, more than 50,000 people had signed an online petition to rename the school's stadium after Myre, who was a member of Oxford High's football team, saying he tried to disarm the shooter. "Tate is not just a hero to his fellow students at Oxford high school but a legend, his act of bravery should be remembered forever and passed down through generations," the petition on Change.org said.

The shooting spree was the deadliest on U.S. school property this year, according to Education Week. It was the latest in a decades-long string of deadly American school shootings that will likely fuel debates about gun control and mental health care. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in an interview on CNN on Wednesday that it was clear that the shooter intended to kill people.

"He was shooting people at close range, oftentimes towards the head and chest. ... It's just absolutely coldhearted murders," he said, adding that the shooter fired at least 30 shots. Bouchard said investigators were poring over writings of the shooter they obtained in the middle of the night that contain "some of his thoughts." They were also watching surveillance videos of the incident.

"We can't get the motive from the suspect that we have in custody, but we think we've got a path to get a lot of supportive information as to how and why this occurred," he said. The suspect was armed with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun his father had purchased on Nov. 26, along with three 15-round magazines. Seven live rounds remained in the gun when the youth was arrested, the sheriff said late on Tuesday.

The suspect was disarmed and taken into custody by sheriff's deputies minutes after the shooting began. He declined to speak with investigators after his parents retained a lawyer and denied authorities permission to interview their son, Bouchard said. "The person who's got the most insight on motive is not talking," the sheriff said.

Bouchard said he was unaware of any previous run-ins with law enforcement by the suspect, a high school sophomore, adding that investigators had so far seen nothing to suggest a history of disciplinary problems or threats. He said forensic technicians were collecting evidence from the crime scene, while detectives began collecting video footage from security cameras mounted around the school and interviewing witnesses and those acquainted with the suspect.

The sheriff said a search warrant was executed at the suspect's home in Oxford and his cellphone was seized. SWIFT ACTION SAVED LIVES

Bouchard credited swift action by his deputies for preventing greater loss of life, saying they arrived on the scene within minutes and moved straight toward the sound of gunshots. Officers confronted the young assailant advancing down a hallway toward them with a loaded weapon, and he put his hands over his head and surrendered, Bouchard said.

The precise sequence of events during the violence remained unclear, but police believe the student carried the weapon into school in a backpack, the sheriff said. "The only information I have is that he came out of a bathroom with a weapon, and I don't know where he went first," Bouchard said.

Prosecutors will decide what charges to bring and whether the suspect should be treated as an adult or juvenile, the sheriff said. The boy, who was unharmed, was being detained in a special cell under suicide watch at a juvenile detention center, Oakland County Executive David Coulter said.

The boy apparently "had been shooting" the gun before Tuesday's attack and had posted pictures of the weapon and a target he was using, according to the sheriff. (By Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Brendan O'Brien in Chicago; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Jonathan Oatis)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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