More than 60 schools in Michigan, as well as one in Georgia and another in New York, are closed Friday due to copycat threats circulating after a 15-year-old killed four classmates Tuesday.
The sheriff in Oakland County, where the shooting took place, said that authorities anticipated a ‘flurry of false threats’ after Ethan Crumbley killed four of his classmates and injured seven others Tuesday.
Bay City, Michigan, a town about 80 miles north of Oxford, has closed all schools today due to the threats.
‘Administrators were made aware of a threat of violence toward Bay City Central High School this evening [Thursday] at approximately 8 p.m. The threat originated via social media, and appears to be a viral ‘challenge’ for students to post,’ a statement from the district said.
‘The photo and threat has been seen in several other districts,’ they added. ‘While we don’t believe the threat is credible, we are closing all schools out of an abundance of caution.
Elsewhere in the state, a 17-year-old in the city of Flint posted a video to social media in the style of a rap song making threats of doing something ‘like Oxford,’ a county prosecutor said.
Bay City, Michigan, a town about 80 miles north of Oxford, has closed all schools today – including Bay City High School (pictured) – due to threats including a video posted in the style of a viral challenge
Burke County High School is one of several schools in that district closed after a threatening email was sent to the principle
New York’s Batavia High School, which saw a similar closure as a result of threats on social media
The student has been charged as a juvenile with one count of false threat of terrorism and one count of using a computer to commit a crime, each a 20-year felony.
‘I’m not going to try to figure out whether this incident in Flint today was intended to be a joke or whether it was a credible threat, the bottom line is that it’s a crime,’ said Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton in a statement.
Both Bay City schools and Leyton encouraged parents of students to talk to their children about the Oxford High School tragedy and let them know that making such threats on social media is a crime.
Timothy Waters, the FBI agent in charge of the Detroit office, said they’ve tracked 25 threats in the wake of the shooting, of which 13 have been ‘fully vindicated,’ while the sheriff in Oakland County – where Oxford is located – said that none of the over 100 threats his office has investigated were credible.
The threats aren’t limited to Michigan. In Georgia, schools in Burke County are closed Friday after a threat was emailed to the local high school’s principle Thursday, according to the county sheriff.
The email said: ‘This is a warning that I am plan [sic] to shoot the whole entire school up tomorrow I already have my plan figured but see you and the dead students tomorrow.’
The sheriff’s office is investigating and offering a reward of $2,500 to anyone with information leading to arrests.
A similar closure happened in Western New York’s Batavia City School District as a result of threats on social media.
A 17-year-old was charged with a ‘copycat threat’ to shoot up a school in Flint, Michigan
A memorial outside of Oxford High School continues to grow Friday for the four students killed
‘Over the last few hours, it’s been brought to our attention that reports of threats of violence at buildings in our district are circulating on social media,’ the school district said in a statement. ‘We are currently working closely with the Batavia Police Department, and out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to close all buildings in the district tomorrow, Friday, December 3, while the Batavia Police Department continues its investigation into whether these threats are credible.’
Timeline of Oxford High School Shooting:
Teacher saw Ethan Crumbley searching about ammunition on his cell phone during class.
His mother Jennifer was contacted about an ‘inappropriate internet search.’ The school followed up via email but received no response.
That same day, Jennifer texted Ethan ‘lol I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught.’
Ethan’s father James purchased a 9 mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 from Acme Shooting Goods in Oxford.
His son was with him.
Jennifer posted a message on social media that read: ‘Mom and son testing out his new Christmas present.’
A teacher found a chilling note on Ethan’s desk that featured disturbing drawings depicting a gun, a bullet, blood everywhere, a shooting victim and a laughing emoji.
The note included the words: ‘Thoughts won’t stop, help me’; ‘my life is useless’ and ‘the world is dead,’ Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said.
Jennifer and James were immediately summoned to the school for a meeting.
They failed to ask if their son had the gun with him or where it was, and they failed to inspect his backpack for the gun, which he did have with him, McDonald said.
They left the school without Ethan.
Ethan allegedly shoots and kills four students
Jennifer texted Ethan ‘don’t do it.’
The shooting had already taken place.
James called 911 to report the gun missing and said he think his son might have it.
Ethan charged with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism.
Jennifer and James are charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter.
Crumbley has been charged as an adult with two dozen crimes over the shooting, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism.
On Friday, both Jennifer and her husband James Crumbley were charged with involuntary manslaughter after a prosecutor said that the parents ignored multiple warning signs and refused to take their son out of school just hours before the shooting.
Officials previously said that at 12.51pm, Ethan walked into a bathroom at Oakland High School with a backpack, then emerged less than a minute later carrying the Sig Sauer handgun and opened fire.
At 1.22pm – more than 30 minutes after the shooting was first reported – Jennifer texted her son, saying: ‘Ethan, don’t do it,’ the prosecutor said.
At 1.37pm, James called 911, reporting his newly purchased gun missing. He also told an emergency dispatcher that he believed his son might be the shooter at Oxford High School.
The school shooting – the deadliest in the US since 2018 – claimed the lives of Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17. Seven more people were injured. Three were in hospitals in stable condition.
The semi-automatic gun was purchased legally by Crumbley’s father on Black Friday, according to investigators.
Deputies rushed to the school around 12.50pm as more than 100 calls flooded 911 dispatchers with reports of a shooter. They arrested the gunman in a hallway within minutes of their arrival with the help of an on-scene school resource officer. The sophomore student put his hands in the air as deputies approached, police said.
Cops recovered a 9mm Sig Sauer semi-automatic handgun, purchased by the gunman’s father a week ago Friday. They later said the suspect had fired at least 12 rounds and had seven more rounds of ammunition when he surrendered. It is not yet clear where in the school the shooter started his rampage.
Police said it was also not yet clear what the shooter’s motive was but that they were searching his social media accounts for clues after finding pictures of him shooting the handgun at a target.
Some students at the school told local media outlets he was being bullied.
Another eight people were injured – seven students and one teacher, a 47-year-old woman who was treated and discharged, according to the sheriff’s office.
Tim Throne, leader of Oxford Community Schools, said the high school looks like a ‘war zone’ and won´t be ready for weeks. But he repeatedly credited students and staff for how they responded to the violence.
‘To say that I am still in shock and numb is probably an understatement. These events that have occurred will not define us,’ Throne, grim-faced and speaking slowly, said in the 12-minute video.
‘I want you to know that there´s been a lot of talk about the student who was apprehended, that he was called up to the office and all that kind of stuff. No discipline was warranted,’ Throne said. ‘There are no discipline records at the high school. Yes this student did have contact with our front office, and, yes, his parents were on campus Nov. 30.’
Hero Varsity running back Tate Myre, 16, (left) was killed when he tried to disarm the school shooter, classmates said. Another student, Justin Shilling (right), was the gunman’s fourth victim. He died in hospital
Madisyn Baldwin, 17, (left) and Hana St Juliana, 14, (right) died in Tuesday’s shooting rampage at Oxford High School in suburban Detroit
The latest in a long series of U.S. school shootings will again fuel debates about gun control and mental health care, with many states allowing easy access to firearms while mental health disorders frequently go untreated. Authorities said counseling would be offered to students, staff and deputies.
President Joe Biden responded to the shooting Tuesday afternoon, saying ‘my heart goes out to the families of all those in Oxford, Michigan, experiencing the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one.’
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said there was a ‘very strong possibility’ that Crumbley was carrying the weapon during a Tuesday meeting with his parents school officials earlier in the day and just prior to the deadly rampage.
‘I think that it’s already been public that he did have the weapon. During COVID, they don’t use lockers, so they just have backpacks,’ McDonald told CNN‘s Anderson Cooper on Thursday.
Explaining the chain of events that freed Crumbley to allegedly kill moments later, McDonald added: ‘The event that caused the teacher concern and that had the school officials bring parents to school was – it’s hard to look at that, what was produced at that meeting, and everybody looked at, it’s very hard to look at that and say that there was no concern.
Oxford High students stand holding candles during a vigil at Lake Pointe Community Church after Tuesday’s shooting
Allison Hepp, 15, holds a candle while leaning against her brother Benjamin Hepp, 17, as the two stand alongside their classmates during a prayer vigil after the Oxford High School school shootings
Emerson Miller, right, leans on her friend Joselyn’s shoulder as they listen to Jessi Holt, pastor at LakePoint Community Church, during a prayer vigil at the church after the Oxford High School school shooting
‘I think it’s already public that he did have the weapon. During COVID, they don’t use lockers, so they just have backpacks,’said Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald, pictured
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald says it is a “very strong possibility” that the suspect in the Michigan high school shooting was carrying the weapon during his meeting with his parents school officials earlier in the day. pic.twitter.com/0hq6ScXOZN
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) December 3, 2021