‘We grabbed calculators and scissors’: Oxford school shooting survivor says classmates armed themselves as bullets hit desks

Three students were killed and eight others injured after a sophomore opened fire in a high school

Sravasti Dasgupta
Wednesday 01 December 2021 14:15

Law enforcement seize guns from home of suspected Oxford school shooter

Students of Oxford High School in the north of Detroit recounted scenes of chaos and horror on Tuesday following a shooting in which three students were killed and eight people, including a teacher, injured.

Authorities said two girls – aged 14 and 17 – and a 16-year-old boy lost their lives when a sophomore opened fire at the school in Oxford, Michigan, according to CNN. Those injured are undergoing treatment at a hospital.

Aiden Page, a student at the school, said a bullet pierced one of the desks that he and other students had used to barricade the classroom door.

“We heard two gunshots and after that, my teacher ran into the room, locked it, we barricaded and then we covered the windows and hid,” he said. “We grabbed calculators, we grabbed scissors just in case the shooter got in and we had to attack them.”

Another student, Catherine Tebben, 17, said she had just finished lunch and was heading to her next class when she heard gunshots.

“I see blood all over the floor. I run out to the parking lot, get into my truck and come here [a nearby store], shaking and start crying because I don’t know where [my boyfriend] is or any of my friends,” she told The Detroit News.

Barrett Dolata, 17, a senior at the school, said he was going to class when he heard gunshots. “I heard gunshots like for a minute or two ... it had to be at least 20 gunshots,” he said. “At first, it doesn’t even sound or feel real. I was in complete shock.”

Follow live updates on the Michigan school shooting

Students attend a vigil hours after the shooting at Oxford High School on Tuesday

A video shared on social media showed a group of students in a classroom as a male voice from outside asked them to open the door.

The unidentified male voice said: “Sheriff’s Office. It’s safe to come out.”

Students can be heard responding: “We are not willing to take that risk right now.”

The voice outside the door then said: “Just open the door ... bro.”

Students identified the word “bro” as a red flag and exited the classroom through a window.

Authorities responded after they received over 100 distress calls on the emergency helpline number 911.

A 15-year-old sophomore, whose identity has not yet been revealed, has been arrested.

“The suspect, a sophomore at the school, was taken into custody without incident five minutes after authorities responded to the shooting,” said Oakland County undersheriff Michael G McCabe.

Police believe at least 15-20 rounds had been fired on the basis of multiple shell casings that were found inside the school. A handgun has been recovered from the suspect. Authorities said they do not have a motive yet but the suspect’s phone has been seized after searches at his home.

“His parents have hired an attorney and have not permitted him to talk to the police,” Mr McCabe said. “At this point we believe that the suspect acted alone.”

Late on Tuesday evening, Oakland County sheriff Mike Bouchard said the suspect had used a handgun that his father had purchased at a Black Friday sale four days earlier, reported the Detroit Free Press.

Students were moved to a nearby store, the Meijer Garden Centre, from where parents were allowed to pick them up.

Oxford Community School officials said that all other schools in the district had been placed under lockdown for safety purposes.

US president Joe Biden issued a statement saying: “My heart goes out to the families enduring the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one.”

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer also expressed shock at a news conference. “I think this is every parent’s worst nightmare,” Ms Whitmer said.

Authorities said that while there have been rumours going around the school and social media that there had been threats of a shooting at the school prior to Tuesday’s attack, they cautioned against believing that narrative until investigators looked into it.

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