Michigan High School Massacre

Townspeople pay homage to Oxford’s fallen students.
Police rush to the scene near Oxford High School.

It was Tuesday, November 30, at Oxford High School, approximately 40 miles north of Detroit. The day began like any ordinary school day. Students went to school, attended class and socialized with friends. In a matter of a few hours, however, all sense of normalcy would cease. 15-year-old sophmore Ethan Crumbley emerged from a bathroom and randomly began shooting targets with a 9mm Sig Sauer SP2022 handgun.

Chaos and confusion were rampant among students and faculty, and over 100 911 calls were placed. First responders began to arrive at the school at 12:52 PM and quickly arrested Crumbley without a fight. During his virtual arraignment on Wednesday, Crumbley, charged as an adult, faced one count of terrorism, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assult with intent to murder and twelve counts of posession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Four victims were killed: Tate Myre (16), Justin Shilling (17), Hana St. Juliana (14) and Madisyn Baldwin (17). Seven additional individuals including one teacher were injured.

Authorities determined that Crumbley’s targets were chosen at random. However, his strategy was premeditated. “He methodically and deliberately walked down the hallway, aiming the firearm at students and firing,” stated Marc Keast, the assistant prosecuting attorney at Crumbley’s court arraignment.

Just days before the massacre, Crumbley displayed a multitude of red flags. On Monday, November 29, a teacher found Crumbley searching for ammunition online, leading to an emergency counseling session held with the school. The next day, hours before the shooting, gruesome drawings of dead individuals, along with sketches of guns were discovered in Crumbley’s backpack. Phrases such as “the thoughts won’t stop. Help me”, were additionally quoted in the drawings. Another counseling session was held, which included a phone call with James and Jennifer Crumbley, Ethan’s parents. School administrators concluded that Crumbley must seek counseling, yet, Crumbley was allowed to return to class, as both his parents and teachers were unaware that he was in possession of a firearm.

In addition, multiple cryptic tweets regarding countdowns and even references to murder were present on Crumbley’s private twitter account at the time of and before the shooting. On November 16, several parents reached out to Principal Steven Wolf to address the disturbing tweets. Wolf did not believe any threat to the school was imminent and did not take the case seriously. Instead he stated in an email that day that the Twitter posts were only “assumptions evolved into exaggerated rumors.”

On Friday, December 3 both Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, for it was determined that the couple ignored obvious red flags regarding their son’s behavior prior to the shooting. However, the pair did not show up for their arraignment. When Crumbley’s lawyers were unable to reach Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley by phone, an arrest warrant was issued in their name. On Saturday morning, Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley were discovered in an industrial building in downtown Detroit by police, and were immediately taken into custody by police without a fight.

-Tommy Cahill ’23

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