Ode to Oxford

A look into the tragic school shooting at Oxford Highschool

Ode+to+Oxford

Isabella Rosette, Staff Writer

Four killed and seven injured. This was the reality Oxford High School faced on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021. At 12:51 p.m, a 15-year-old student, Ethan Crumbley, opened fire inside the school. During the time of the shooting, which only lasted minutes, 911 operators received over 100 calls. When deputies arrived at Oxford, Crumbley surrendered and was arrested. 

While the investigation is still ongoing, Crumbley is being charged as an adult with charges ranging from first-degree murder, to terrorism. Crumbley’s parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, are also being charged in the incident, both facing four charges of manslaughter each.

But how did this happen? On November 26th, James Crumbley and his son purchased a 9 mm Sig Sauer SP2022 pistol. The gun was reportedly purchased for Ethan Crumbley, who later posted a picture of the gun on his social media, with the caption “Just got my new beauty today”, according to WZZM13. Jennifer Crumbley referred to the gun as Ethan’s new Christmas present. 

Three days later, on the 29th, Crumbley’s teacher reported him for searching for ammunition on his phone during class. While the school reached out to Crumbley’s parents, no response was received and it was later reported that Jennifer texted her son “lol I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught”, according to WZZM13. 

The next day, a disturbing note was found on Crumbley’s desk by his teacher, who took a picture of it and reported it to the school’s administration. Crumbley’s parents were brought into the office, along with their son and a school counselor. According to WZZM13, while the counselor recommended Crumbley be enrolled in counseling and sent home for the day, his parents refused, sending him back to class. Tim Throne, who heads the Oxford Community Schools district, said that Crumbley was calm while in the office and worked on his science homework, according to CNN. At the time, there was nothing suspicious about Crumbley’s behavior. Because Crumbley had no prior disciplinary actions, he was sent back to class.  

At 12:50 p.m, Crumbley exits class and heads to the bathroom with his backpack. At 12:51, the shooting occurs. Crumbley started shooting at a time where students were to be transitioning between class periods. 

“Before the shooter was able to walk a short distance to enter the main hallway, students and staff had already entered classrooms, locked doors, erected makeshift barricades and locked down or fled according to their training,” Throne explained to CNN. 

Crumbley was unable to access any of the classrooms and remained in the hall for the duration of the shooting. Deputies were quick to arrive on the scene and Crumbley surrendered. 30 shots were fired by Crumbley, and there were still rounds in his handgun when he was arrested, according to CNN.

Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Tate Myre, 16, Hana St. Juliana, 14 and Justin Shilling, 17, became victims in the deadliest school shooting on a K-12 campus since 2018. 

Baldwin had just transferred to the school that year, according to WXYZ. She loved to read, write and draw and had been expected to graduate this year, already having been accepted to multiple schools, some of which had offered her full-ride scholarships. 

Myre had played football for Oxford: a linebacker and tight end. He had been on the varsity football team since his freshman year and was an honors student. During the shooting, in an attempt to save other students, Myre tried to disarm Crumbley and later died in a patrol car while being transported to a hospital by an officer, according to the Detroit Press. 

St. Juliana was the youngest of the victims and enjoyed playing basketball and volleyball. According to WXYZ, she enjoyed babysitting and being with friends and family.

Shilling was in his senior year at Oxford and played on the school’s golf team and bowling team as co-captain. He was also a scholar, part of Oxford School District’s Baccalaureate program, a lettered athlete, and a scholarship awardee, according to CNN. Outside of school, Shilling had a job at a local restaurant named Anita’s Kitchen.

The Oxford community mourns the loss of the four students killed in the shooting. Each of them had bright futures ahead of them and sadly, it came to an end. 

While Crumbley faces his own charges, his parents are not getting off scot-free. Both of Crumbley’s parents now face four counts of involuntary manslaughter each, and their bond is set at $500,000. According to CNN, the Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced that both parents would be facing charges as a way to serve justice and teach others about the importance of gun ownership. If convicted on all four charges, both James and Jennifer Crumbley face up to 60 years in prison and $30,000 in fines. Both pleaded not guilty.

While McDonald announced that the Crumbleys would be facing charges on Friday, they were not arrested until Saturday, where they were found hiding in an industrial or commercial building in Detroit, 40 miles of their house. The man who helped the Crumbles into that building now faces charges of his own for “either aiding and abetting or obstruction of justice”, according to CNN. 

The investigation into the tragic school shooting is still underway as prosecutors and police continue to uncover more evidence. Meanwhile, the Oxford community gathered on Friday, December 3rd, to mourn the losses of the four victims. Thousands attended a candlelight vigil to honor the four, the gathering starting with four minutes of silence, according to USA Today.

The Oxford High School shooting is the 32nd school shooting in the United States since August 1st. According to USA Today, the Oakland County Executive David Coulter said that the lives lost and the harm done to the survivors will always be remembered, but so would the coming together of a community.