Officials have warned that Oxford has been “inundated with threats” following last week’s deadly high school shooting, after a vigil for the victims descended into chaos on Friday night.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a press conference on Saturday afternoon that the tight-knit town in Michigan has been rocked by a “huge spike in threats” in the aftermath of Tuesday’s massacre at Oxford High School, in which four teenagers were killed.
“We’re inundated with threats right now,” he said.
“We have threats against the candlelight vigil last night. We’ve had threats against memorials, we had threats against individuals, deputies or law enforcement.
“It’s absolutely absurd that after a tragedy we see a huge spike in threats but that’s what we’re seeing.”
Four students were shot and killed and seven other students and staff were wounded in Tuesday’s shooting spree which marked the deadliest school shooting in the US since 2018.
The victims were identified as Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; and Justin Shilling, 17.
Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old sophomore at the school, was arrested at the scene and taken into custody. He was charged as an adult with 24 counts including four charges of first-degree murder and one count of terrorism.
The suspect allegedly posted a chilling countdown to the shooting on social media and was carrying a journal documenting his plans at the time of the attack, according to authorities.
Panic erupted at a vigil held in memory of the four victims on Friday night when someone fainted, sparking fears of another attack and sending terrified community members running for their lives.
Footage captured by Local4 News showed hundreds of people frantically fleeing the scene in terror as screams filled the air.
Law enforcement officials treated the individual in need and managed to quell the chaos, allowing the vigil to continue.
— Jason Colthorp (@JasonColthorp) December 4, 2021
The panic revealed a glimpse of the toll of the shooting on the community, coming at a time when the suspect’s parents were said to be on the run from law enforcement.
Prosecutors charged the suspect’s parents James and Jennifer Crumbley with four counts of involuntary manslaughter over Tuesday’s shooting after they allegedly ignored red flags about their son’s behaviour and bought him the gun allegedly used in the attack four days earlier.
The Crumbleys were arrested in the early hours of Saturday in a commercial property in Detroit close to the Canadian border, after failing to show for their arraignment on Friday afternoon.
They pleaded not guilty at their arraignment on Saturday morning and were held on $500,000 bond each.
Their son also pleaded not guilty to his charges on Thursday and is being held without bond.