A 15-year-old sophomore at Oxford High School will be charged as an adult and faces life in prison for killing four of his schoolmates and injuring several more this week in Oxford. Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald is charging the boy with one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possessing a firearm in commission of a felony. McDonald says her office is considering more charges in the near future, including possible charges against both of his parents.
“Tragedies like this affect all of us in some way. They really tear at our sense of security.” –Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter
Meanwhile, the community of Oxford and all of Southeast Michigan continues to shoulder the weight of more senseless violence — and crushing grief.
Listen: Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter and Megan Dombrowski of WSU Students Demand Action react to the mass school shooting in Oxford.
Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter has been in the midst of this tragedy for the past two days. He says the county is working to help Oxford and its extended school community get the resources they need at this difficult time, including mental health services.
“Tragedies like this affect all of us in some way. They really tear at our sense of security. Especially at a school. This is a place where we should feel safe and secure. And that has been disrupted,” says Coulter. “There’s a sense right now of shock and trauma that people are processing. That’s why the mental health aspect of this is crucial.”
He also applauded the more than a dozen local public school districts that closed Thursday due to threats of violence circulating on social media.
“It doesn’t mean that these are credible threats, but they [school districts] have to assume that everything is credible and take everything seriously,” says Coulter. “So, I applaud them for taking the rather dramatic step of pausing until we can sift through what’s real and what’s not, because there’s a lot of chatter out there. And it makes a terrible situation much worse.”
Related: Stephen Henderson on Oxford School Shooting: We’re Still Not Having the Right Conversations
Megan Dombrowski is the founding president of the Wayne State University chapter of Students Demand Action, a national organization of students calling for policies meant to curb gun violence in America. She says, given the frequency of incidents of mass gun violence in schools on a national level, Michigan was going to experience a tragedy like this at some point.
“Immediately, I was shocked. But then again I wasn’t so shocked,” says Dombrowski. “It was only a matter of time before this kind of violence happened close to home.”
“We’re sort of known as the school shooting generation,” she continues. “We’ve only lived in this reality that someone can go to school and never come back. And a lot of lawmakers don’t understand that.”