Police are searching for the parents of the suspected Oxford High School shooter Friday after a county prosecutor issued charges against the couple on four counts of involuntary manslaughter following the deaths of four students and seven others who were injured on Tuesday.
Judge Julie Nicholson approved a warrant on Friday to take the couple into custody, according to WDIV-TV. The father and mother were scheduled to be arraigned at 4 p.m. local time on Friday but had not yet been apprehended, according to police reports.
In a press release, the Oakland County Sheriff’s department said that the attorney for their parents couldn’t reach them, according to WXYZ Detroit.
“We have our Fugitive Apprehension Team, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service and others actively looking for them and have every expectation we’ll have them in custody soon,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a press release, reports the news agency. “The action of fleeing and ignoring their attorney certainly adds weight to the charges. They cannot run from their part in this tragedy.”
Following media reports about the search for the parents, an attorney for the parents denied they were fleeing. “The [parents] left town on the night of the tragic shooting for their own safety. They are returning to the area to be arraigned. They are not fleeing from law enforcement despite recent comments in media reports,” said the attorney.
The parents each face four criminal charges for involuntary manslaughter after reports that their son allegedly used a handgun purchased by the father as a gift for his son on Black Friday days before the shooting.
The Daily Wire previously reported that the 15-year-old Michigan student also likely had the handgun in his backpack during a meeting with teachers and parents just hours before using it in the shooting spree.
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald told CNN on Thursday that there was a “very strong possibility” the suspect was already carrying the weapon during a meeting with his parents and school officials earlier in the day before the shooting.
“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 said.
“And unfortunately, he was allowed to get back to class. And we now know he had a weapon with him at that time. And that is simply tragic,” she added.
Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne also addressed the shooting during a video to the community on Thursday.
“I want you to know that there has been a lot of talk about the student who was apprehended,” Throne said.
“That he was called up to the office, and all that kind of stuff. No discipline was warranted. There are no discipline records at the high school,” he added.
Throne did confirm that the student had “contact” with the front office and that the student’s parents were on campus on Tuesday morning before the shooting.
“Yes, this student did have contact with our front office, and yes, his parents were on campus November 30th,” he said.
“This is as much information as we can give you now,” he added.
Three students were reported dead on Tuesday. A fourth victim died on Wednesday, according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.
Justin Shilling, 17, passed away at approximately 10:00 a.m. local time at McLaren Oakland Hospital in Pontiac just one day after the shooting tragedy that took the lives of three students.
Heartbreaking. Here are the three students who were shot and killed yesterday at Oxford High School.
• Tate Myre, 16
• Hanna St. Julian, 14
— Dana Whyte (@dwhytereports) December 1, 2021
The three students who died on the day of the incident included Tate Myre, a 16-year-old football player, who died in a sheriff’s deputy’s car while traveling to the hospital; Hana St. Juliana, 14; and Madisyn Baldwin, 17.
It is with great grief that one of the victims of the tragic event at OHS today was one of our own, Tate Myre. Tate was on varsity since his freshman year and was an honor student. Tate was a great young man with a bright future and beloved by all. You will be missed, Tate 💙💛 pic.twitter.com/AKJCH1UWBG
— Oxford Football (@OxfordFootbalI) December 1, 2021
The suspect is currently being held at a local juvenile detention facility and has declined to speak to law enforcement regarding motives. The student has been charged with counts of murder and terrorism.