So barricaded scared students doors, called for help and picked up everything they could get their hands on if they had to fight back.
“We grabbed calculators, we grabbed a pair of scissors if the shooter came in, and we had to attack them,” he said, describing how a bullet pierced one of the desks they had used to block the door.
In a sign language class, first-year student Mark Kluska heard someone announce a lockdodwn over the school’s speakers. His teacher closed the door and fixed it with a metal door stop.
“I started realizing it was right when I started hearing the screams,” Kluska told CNN.
Later, someone outside the room, who claimed to be at the sheriff’s office, told Kluska and his classmates that everything was safe and they could get out, shows a video recorded by the freshman.
“We are not willing to take that risk right now,” the teacher replies.
It is not clear who the person at the door was. But the teacher quickly signaled students to crawl out of a window on the first floor in the snow, Kluska said. From there, they raced across a courtyard to another part of the building, where a police officer led them to safety.
More than 100 calls were made to 911. About two to three minutes after officers arrived, they found a suspect – a 15-year-old – and took him into custody without incident, said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.
Four students died as a result of the attack on the school about 40 miles north of downtown Detroit – Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; and Justin Shilling, 17, authorities said.
Shilling died Wednesday morning in a hospital; the others died Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said. Ant died in a patrol car while a deputy drove him to a hospital, Bouchard said.
Seven others – six students and a teacher – were shot, Bouchard said.
Among those injured was a 14-year-old girl who was on a respirator after surgery, Bouchard said Tuesday night. A 14-year-old boy had a gunshot wound to the jaw and head while the teacher who was shot had been discharged.
The suspect, who has not been identified by police, was detained in Oakland County Children’s Village, a juvenile detention center. He was put on suicide watch and was checked every 15 minutes, County Chief David Coulter said.
Video shows assailant ‘shot people at close range’, says the sheriff
The gun deputies said was used in the shooting, a 9mm Sig Sauer SP2022 semi-automatic pistol was purchased by the suspect’s father last Friday, four days before the shots were fired at the school, Bouchard said.
Two 15-round magazines were found at the scene and the gun had seven cartridges of ammunition, Bouchard said. Investigators found more than 30 grenades, said the sheriff, who had previously said at least a dozen shots were fired.
“We think he fired at least 30 shots,” he said.
Video from the school shows the assailant “shot people at close range – often to the head or chest,” Bouchard told CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday.
“It’s cool. It’s completely cold, murderous,” Bouchard said.
Although much of the shooting was at close range, it still seemed “random,” Bouchard told CNN without elaborating.
The assailant “tried to break doors to the classroom,” the sheriff said.
“He actually shot through a series of the doors I was looking at last night – through the barred doors … Some of those barricades were hit by shots,” Bouchard said.
Bouchard praised the work of his deputies and other local law enforcement officials who responded Tuesday, saying their coordination and active shooting practice proved invaluable.
Deputies were sent to the school at. 12.52 and the suspect was remanded in custody within three minutes of their arrival, Bouchard said.
When deputies came through the school, they encountered the suspect, who then held out his hands, Bouchard said. Deputies took the gun and placed the suspect in custody.
“I think they literally saved lives after taking the suspect down with a loaded firearm still in the building,” Bouchard said.
‘We think we have some scriptures that contain his thoughts’
As for investigating a motive: “We think we have some scriptures that contain some of his thoughts,” Bouchard said Wednesday, adding that he did not immediately know if the scriptures reveal the intent.
Investigators carried out a search warrant at the suspect’s home and searched the school, he said. Authorities seized a telephone and are investigating other seized items.
Michigan law prevents police from talking to a young person without parental permission, and parents have denied that permission and asked for a lawyer, Bouchard said.
“So we can not get the motive from the suspect that we have remanded in custody, but we believe we have a way to get a lot of supportive information about how and why this happened. We have found some evidence that we are now starting to penetrate, “Bouchard said.
Authorities are also investigating images of a target and the weapon that the suspect has posted on social media, he added.
‘I want to text my family and say I love them’
“This district has been very good at training their staff and students in active shooters,” said Undersecretary Michael McCabe.
Kluska’s teacher, Moises Cortez, got underway after a lockdown was announced over the school’s speakers, said the student, who recorded video of his classmates fleeing through a window.
“He closed the door and put a metal door stopper so no one could kick the door in.” Kluska told CNN. “After turning off the light, he asked us to come to the corner because this might not be an exercise and he will be safe.”
People were hurt as they hurried out of school, Bouchard said. Most were treated and released at a nearby staging post.
Donna Sanders’ youngest granddaughter changed class when he heard shots, she told CNN. He and others ran through an exit door and went to a nearby grocery store to escape, he told her.
“He was able to run to safety with others while his brother was trapped inside,” Sanders said.
Sanders’ daughter, Vontysha Pittman, said her eldest son sought safety in a classroom with a teacher and other students. He hid under a desk and called his father to tell him what happened, she said.
“They’re both safe at home, but they’s broken. We need prayers and not just for us, but for all the families in Oxford,” Sanders said.
Pages’ classroom was locked for an hour, the senior told CNN. The whole experience looked “crazy” as he considered whether he would live through the ordeal.
“The very first thing in my head was, ‘Is this really happening? I want to text my family and say I love them for safety’s sake if I were to die.’ So when everything calmed down for a second, I’m able to breathe and rationalize things, “he said.
‘There are no uninjured students or staff today’
The prosecutor weighs the evidence and will decide whether the suspect should be charged as an adult.
Prosecutor Karen McDonald’s office has “begun the process of receiving information about the investigation” of the shooting. “It is our intention to review it thoroughly and issue appropriate fees quickly,” according to its statement Tuesday.
All schools in Oxford’s district will be closed for the rest of this week due to the shooting, according to a post on the district’s website.
While investigators comb the school for evidence, community leaders promised to work in the coming days to cure the shattered sense of security.
“There are no uninjured students or staff today. Everyone in the Oxford community, Oakland County and frankly, the United States has been affected by this tragedy,” said Coulter, the county chief. “Tragedies like this tear away our security … a security and a peace that should rightly be ours in a place like a school.”
“I think this is all parents’ worst nightmare,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who added that shootings at schools are “a unique American problem that we must address.”
“My heart goes out to the families. This is an unimaginable tragedy,” she said. “I hope we can all lift the opportunity and wrap our arms around the families, the affected children and school staff and this community.”
CNN’s Adrienne Broaddus reported from Oxford. CNN’s Jason Hanna and Amir Vera wrote in Atlanta. CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz, Carolyn Sung, Taylor Romine, Laura Ly, Caroll Alvarado, Kristina Sgueglia, Patrick Cornell, Tanika Gray and Alex Harring contributed to this report.