A 15-year-old boy was charged Wednesday with murder, terrorism and other counts for a shooting that killed four fellow students and injured seven others at Michigan's Oxford High School on Tuesday.
The incident is the deadliest U.S. school shooting so far this year, and the worst since 2018, according to Education Week, which tracks school shootings.
A 17-year-old student succumbed to his injuries Wednesday morning, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, bringing the death toll in the shooting to four.
"We regret to announce that Justin Shilling ... passed away at approximately 10 a.m. today at McLaren Oakland Hospital in Pontiac, Michigan," authorities said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
Several other people were wounded, some critically, including a 14-year-old girl who was placed on a ventilator after surgery.
Charges against the alleged shooter, Ethan Crumbley, were announced Wednesday, a few hours after authorities reported the fourth death. Crumbley is charged as an adult with one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder and seven counts assault with intent to murder.
Investigators were still trying to determine a motive for the shooting Tuesday at Oxford High School, located in a community of about 22,000 people roughly 30 miles north of Detroit, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.
“The person that’s got the most insight and the motive is not talking,” he said at a news conference late Tuesday.
Deputies rushed to the school around lunch time as more than 100 calls flooded 911 dispatchers with reports of a shooter. They arrested the student in a hallway within minutes of their arrival. He put his hands in the air as deputies approached, Bouchard said.
The boy’s father on Friday bought the 9 mm Sig Sauer used in the shooting, Bouchard said. He didn’t know why the man bought the semi-automatic handgun, which his son had been posting pictures of and practicing shooting, Bouchard said.
The three students who were killed Tuesday were 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, and 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin. Myre died in a deputy’s patrol car on the way to a hospital
A teacher who received a graze wound to the shoulder has left the hospital, but seven students ranging in age from 14 to 17, including Shilling, remained hospitalized through the night with gunshot wounds, he said.
The gun the boy was carrying had seven more rounds of ammo in it when he surrendered, Bouchard said.
Undersheriff Mike McCabe said the student’s parents advised their son not to talk to investigators. Police must seek permission from a juvenile’s parents or guardian to speak with them, he added.
Authorities were made aware of posts on social media that said there had been threats of a shooting at the roughly 1,700-student school, but Bouchard said they didn’t know about the rumors until after the attack.
He stressed how crucial it is for tips of the kind to be sent to authorities, while also cautioning against spreading social media rumors before a full investigation.
Bouchard said the alleged shooter had no previous run-ins with his department and he wasn’t aware of any disciplinary history at school.
“That’s part of our investigation to determine what happened prior to this event and if some signs were missed how were they missed and why,” he said.
The campus was placed on lockdown during the attack, with some children sheltering in locked classrooms. They were later taken to a nearby Meijer grocery store to be picked up by their parents.
McCabe also downplayed the significance of a situation in early November when a deer head was thrown off the school roof, which he said was “absolutely unrelated” to the shooting. The vandalism prompted school administrators to post two letters to parents on the school’s website, saying they were responding to rumors of a threat against the school but had found none.
According to a Nov. 4 letter written by Principal Steve Wolf, someone threw a deer head into a courtyard from the school’s roof, painted several windows on the roof with red acrylic paint and used the same paint on concrete near the school building during the early morning hours. Without specifically referencing that incident, a second post on Nov. 12 assured “there has been no threat to our building nor our students.”
A concerned parent, Robin Redding, said her son, Treshan Bryant, is a 12th-grader at the school but stayed home Tuesday. Redding said her son had heard threats that there could be a shooting.
“This couldn’t be just random,” she said.
Bryant said he texted several younger cousins in the morning and they said they didn’t want to go to school, and he got a bad feeling. He asked his mom if he could do his assignments online.
Bryant said he had heard vague threats “for a long time now” about plans for a shooting.
At a vigil Tuesday night at LakePoint Community Church, Leeann Dersa choked back tears as she hugged friends and neighbors. Dersa has lived nearly all of her 73 years in Oxford. Her grandchildren attended the high school.
“Scared us all something terrible. It’s awful,” Dersa said of the shooting.
On Tuesday evening, President Joe Biden was updated on the shooting en route to an event in Minnesota by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
"As we learn the full details, my heart goes out to the families enduring the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one," Biden said at a late afternoon event, where he had traveled to tout aspects of his recently-signed bipartisan infrastructure law.
"[The suspect] turned himself in, and he claimed his right against self-incrimination and handed over his pistol," Biden added. "That's all we know about it. But you got to know that that whole community has to be just in a state of shock right now."
Michigan’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, was one of several other elected officials who expressed condolences to the victims.
“Gun violence is a public health crisis that claims lives every day. 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,” Whitmer said in a statement.
Rep. Haley Stevens, a Democrat representing the district where Oxford is located, offered her condolences at the "absolutely heartbreaking news," adding: "I am praying for the Oxford High School community and will continue to monitor this tragic situation. Thank you to our Oakland County first responders and those who are working to reunite students with their families."
Rep. Debbie Dingell, also a Michigan Democrat, wrote: "Praying for the students injured in today’s shooting at Oxford High."
"As we wait for more information from law enforcement, one thing is clear: this violence must stop," she added.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, another Democrat from Michigan, wrote: "This is absolutely devastating. My heart goes out to the Oxford community and everyone affected by this tragedy. This impacts all of us and as a mother of a 16-year-old, I can't imagine the horror of this."
Republican Rep. Lisa McClain said it was "an incredibly sad day for Oxford and our entire state," adding: "Three students are now dead and I can’t imagine the pain their families are going through. I want to thank our first responders for their bravery during this tragedy and ask you all to keep Oxford in your prayers."
Fellow House Republican Rep. Peter Maijer similarly wrote: "Awful news from southeast Michigan- please keep the victims and our first responders in your prayers today."
The state's senators, both Democrats, also responded to news of the shooting. Sen. Debbie Stabenow called it "absolutely devastating," adding: "My heart goes out to the entire Oxford High School community. This news is a gut punch for parents and families in our state."
Sen. Gary Peters said the news was "heartbreaking," as 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," he added. "Grateful to law enforcement & authorities for their swift response."
This is a developing story. Check back later for further updates.
This story has been updated with comments from authorities and additional information.