A 15-year-old opened fire and killed three students during a shooting at Oxford High School in Oakland County, Michigan, on Tuesday, authorities said.
The victims were described as a 16-year-old boy, a 14-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl. Eight others were injured in the shooting, including a teacher, with some suffering critical injuries including gunshots to the head, neck and chest.
Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a Tuesday evening news conference that the mass shooting was “the worst kind of tragedy” and “we hoped and prayed that it would never come to Oakland County.” He added that one victim’s condition was “looking very tough.”
“This touches us all personally and deeply and will for a long time,” Bouchard said, adding that a dispatcher who responded to the calls during the shooting lost a relative in the attack. “This wound will never go away. ... We will leave no stone unturned.”
Authorities identified the suspect as a 15-year old male who is a sophomore at the school. He surrendered to authorities that responded to the school after dispatchers received more than 100 calls shortly before 1 p.m. local time.
The suspect is currently being held in a juvenile detention facility and will not be identified unless he is charged as an adult, authorities said.
The shooting lasted about five minutes, Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said at an earlier briefing. The gunman fired an estimated 15 to 20 rounds and “did not give resistance” when deputies took him into custody about 1 p.m.
The gunman raised his hands and surrendered his weapon, a semiautomatic handgun, to deputies during his arrest.
Bouchard said later Tuesday that the weapon was a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol that was purchased on Nov. 26 by the suspect’s father. The weapon had a 15-round magazine that still had seven bullets in it when the suspect was taken into custody.
“I’m extremely proud of the deputies, the fire departments and EMS for their intervening actions,” the sheriff said Tuesday. “I believe they literally saved lives, having taken down a suspect with a loaded firearm still in the building.”
“That interrupted what I believe potentially could have been seven more victims,” he added.
McCabe said that the teen’s parents visited their son at the sheriff’s substation and advised him against speaking to investigators.
Bouchard said there was no information about a potential motive behind the shooting, saying the suspect and his family were “not talking” and had retained a lawyer.
The school was placed on lockdown during the shooting and parents were asked to pick up children.
“Pray for our families and our students,” school superintendent Tim Throne said at the press conference. “I’m shocked. It’s devastating.”
“It’s a very tragic situation,” McCabe said, adding that there were “a lot of upset parents.” “You never want to prepare for something like this but you have to.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who traveled to Oxford on Tuesday evening, described the shooting as “every parent’s worst nightmare” during a news conference.
“This is a uniquely American problem that we need to address,” Whitmer said. “But at this juncture, I think we need to focus on the community, the families, supporting all the first responders, including the incredible people at our hospitals who are working so hard to save the lives of those who are fighting for their lives right now.”