Authorities in the United States say a student opened fire at a high school north of Detroit, Michigan, killing three students and injuring eight other people, including a teacher.
Oakland County undersheriff Michael McCabe told reporters that three students were killed in a shooting on Tuesday afternoon at a high school in Oxford, a small suburban community 48km (30 miles) from Detroit.
The suspect, a 15-year-old high school sophomore, was taken into custody within five minutes of the initial 911 call, McCabe said.
Officers recovered a semi-automatic handgun from the suspect, who “gave up without any problems”, McCabe added.
“The suspect fired multiple shots. There [are] multiple victims. It’s unfortunate I have to report that we have three deceased victims right now, who are all believed to be students,” he said.
Later in the day, McCabe identified the teenagers who were killed as a 16-year-old male student, and two female students, aged 14 and 17.
He said the suspect is maintaining his right to remain silent and is not answering questions from the authorities. The 15 year old is being held at a facility for juveniles but could be charged as an adult, depending on the local prosecutor’s determination, McCabe added.
Law enforcement officers responded to an emergency call at about 12:55pm local time (05:55 GMT) and put the school on lockdown while they searched for the suspect and other possible threats, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.
After the area was cleared, a Meijer’s grocery store across the street was turned into a pick-up area for parents to reunite with their children, the Associated Press news agency reported.
Increase in gun violence
In April, President Joe Biden called mass shootings a “national embarrassment” amid a rash of incidents across the nation, vowing to work to curb gun violence.
Speaking to reporters near the high school in Oxford on Tuesday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said it was “too early” to talk about specific policies that need to change to tackle school shootings.
“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.”
In an earlier statement, she decried the shooting as “horrific” and urged action against gun violence, calling it a “public health crisis”.
“Gun violence is a public health crisis that claims lives every day,” Whitmer said. “We have the tools to reduce gun violence in Michigan. This is a time for us to come together and help our children feel safe at school.”
This is heartbreaking. Schools are a place where students should be safe.
I’m thinking of the families & friends who lost loved ones in Oxford today—and the entire community grappling with this harrowing news. Grateful to law enforcement & authorities for their swift response. https://t.co/k1OMtEhyVO
— Senator Gary Peters (@SenGaryPeters) November 30, 2021
US Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, who represents Oxford, called the shooting a “dark” and “painful” day for Michigan.
“I send my deepest condolences to the families of the three students who have lost their lives – they have received the worst news any parent can ever imagine,” Slotkin wrote on Twitter.
“We must continue to pray and hope for the additional students and teacher who have been injured, and for the students who are in shock right now. They will somehow have to make sense of one of their peers doing this to them.”
Biden also addressed the shooting during a speech in Minnesota later on Tuesday.
“My heart goes out to the families during the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one … You’ve got to know that that whole community has to be just in a state of shock right now,” Biden said.