UPDATE: 2:40 P.M.: A fourth student was pronounced deceased Wednesday afternoon.
Scores of students and adults in Oxford, Michigan, sought solace in three separate prayer meetings Tuesday night hours after a 15-year-old sophomore shattered the peace of their community when he went on a shooting rampage at Oxford High School killing four students and injuring seven others.
“For me, what is very difficult today is a father of one of the children that was shot that called me and he said, ‘I’m on my way to bring my son to the hospital. Could you please pray?’ And of course, when you hear something like that, you say things like, ‘Are you kidding?’” Pastor Jesse Holt of Lake Point Community Church in Oxford Township told his packed church at a prayer vigil on Tuesday night.
“When you think about it later that’s a terrible, terrible prank to pull on someone. You know they are not kidding, but you enter into a moment of disbelief. And I would bet 100% of us are in an area of disbelief and shock. What do we say? What do we do? Where do we go?” Holt asked.
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office identified the dead as Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Julian, 14; and Madisyn Baldwin, 17. Student Justin Shilling died Wednesday morning at McLaren Oakland Hospital in Pontiac. There are conflicting reports suggesting that Shilling was either 17 or 15.
Other injured victims who were reported alive as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday are: a critically wounded 15-year-old boy who was shot in the head; a seriously wounded 14-year-old boy shot in the head and jaw; a 17-year-old girl shot in the neck; a 15-year-old boy shot in the leg; a 47-year-old teacher grazed by a bullet; a 14-year-old boy shot in the chest and neck who is on a ventilator after surgery; and a 17-year-old girl who is in critical condition after she was shot in the chest.
“As I reflect on the day, it is one that is filled with overwhelming sadness. My heart aches for families that will never be the same and a quiet sweet community that had its innocence shattered,” Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a statement in the early hours of Wednesday morning after a detailed walk-through of the crime scene and the evidence.
“I have seen far too many bodies and death in my career, but children’s are always the worst. I am super proud of our team as they continue to work through the night and I know the work they did this day saved lives. It is also evident from the scene that the lockdown protocols, training, and equipment Oxford schools had in place saved lives as well. I will close this day with more prayers, as we will be back at it in a couple of hours,” he added.
Police say the first 911 calls about an active shooter at Oxford High School were received at 12:51 p.m. Tuesday and they would receive more than 100 calls during the attack.
The 15-year-old suspect was later taken into custody without incident. It's been reported that a 9mm Sig Sauer handgun purchased by his father four days before the shooting was recovered at the scene.
“There was no resistance during the arrest and the suspect has asked for a lawyer and has not made any statements as to a motive,” the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Holt said as he struggled to come to grips with the shooting his first thought was whether he could go to the hospital, but then he remembered that his own children were in middle school and his disbelief turned into shock.
“I would bet 100 percent of us this evening are also in shock. And as a person of faith who uses this platform every Sunday … to preach on the love of God, the love of Christ … what do you say on Tuesday when it feels like those things may have failed you?” he asked before offering up prayers for the community.
Kim Kozel, 51, of Lake Orion, one of about 300 people who attended a prayer vigil at Kensington Church in Lake Orion, told the Detroit Free Press that she, too, was in shock.
"This is the thing you read about on the news, that happens in other places," she said. "I don't think I've processed it yet. It's been a lot."
At St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lake Orion, Father John Carlin was also busy with offering comfort.
“Our whole community, our whole family of faith has been affected,” he said. “We're offering up this mass for the repose of their souls, for the comfort of those who are wounded and for the family members.”