Attorney seeks to include Oxford High School security guard in lawsuit

Attorney Ven Johnson argues surveillance video of the incident shows the security guard must have noticed the students confronted by the gunman in the bathroom but she “just walked away.”

Oxford High School

Photo credit: Nate Pappas/WDET

A motion has been filed to add a security guard as a defendant in a civil case against Oxford High School in connection to last November’s mass shooting.

Attorney Ven Johnson, who filed a lawsuit in January against Oxford Community Schools, says he’s seen video that shows the Oxford High School security guard opening a bathroom door where two students were inside with the accused shooter. The security guard allegedly closed the door and walked away. Schilling was one of four students killed by the shooter. Johnson argues surveillance video of the incident shows the security guard must have noticed the students confronted by the gunman in the bathroom but she “just walked away.”

“We know [the shooter] was in there… Justin Shilling was in there and was still alive… and Keegan Gregory was in there.  It’s a very small bathroom.”

Johnson says Shilling was killed in that bathroom after the security guard left. He says video evidence shows Gregory running from the bathroom after Shilling was shot.

Prosecutors have said the shooter entered a bathroom with a backpack and came out with a semi-automatic handgun, firing at students while moving down the hallway. The four students who were killed were 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin and 17-year-old Shilling.

“Had she done her job, at least the death of Justin would have been prevented for sure,” Johnson said.

He wrote in the complaint that the officer also “saw Tate Myre’s body on the floor with him bleeding to death and informed the investigators that she thought he had ‘really good makeup’ on.”

Johnson predicts a ruling on the motion to add the guard to the civil case should come next week.

Timothy Mullins, an attorney for the school district, dismissed Johnson’s allegations as “untrue,” suggesting that not only did the security officer not believe the shooting was a drill but suggested she acted courageously.

“When the facts are known, a single woman without any backup will be shown to be going towards the shooter,” Mullins told The Associated Press Wednesday. “No backup, unaided, no Kevlar, no waiting, (but) singularly exposing herself to the event.”

The 16-year-old suspect faces murder and other charges. His trial is expected to start in January. His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are charged with involuntary manslaughter and accused of failing to keep the gun used in the shooting secure at home and failing to reasonably care for their son when he showed signs of mental distress. They have pleaded not guilty.

Also, at least two lawsuits have been filed on behalf of the families of the students who died, were injured or traumatized by what happened.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Author

  • Alex McLenon is a Reporter with 101.9 WDET. McLenon is a graduate of Wayne State University, where he studied Media Arts & Production and Broadcast Journalism.