Oxford Township, Mich. A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school on Tuesday, killing three students, including a 16-year-old boy, who were being taken to the hospital in a deputy’s patrol car, officials said. Eight others were injured, some in critical condition.

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Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said late Tuesday that investigators were still trying to determine a motive for the shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford Township, an area of ​​about 22,000 people about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Detroit. Community.

“The person who has the most insight and motive isn’t talking,” Bouchard said at a news conference.

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Bouchard said the suspect’s father had bought the 9mm Sig Sauer used in the shooting on Friday, adding that he did not know why the man bought the gun. Bouchard said the suspect had practiced shooting with a gun and “posted pictures of the target and weapon.”

The three students killed were 16-year-old Tate Myere, 14-year-old Hanna St. Julian and 17-year-old Madison Baldwin. Bouchard said Maire died in a patrol car as the deputy tried to take her to the hospital.

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Bouchard said a teacher with a shoulder injury was discharged from hospital, but seven students aged 14 to 17 remained hospitalized with gunshot wounds, including a 14-year-old girl, She was on ventilator after surgery.

Undersheriff Mike McCabe previously said that officers were aware of allegations circulating on social media that about 1,700 students had threatened to shoot at the school prior to Tuesday’s attack, but he opposed believing that narrative. Warned until investigators can look into it.

He also downplayed the importance of an incident in early November when a deer’s head was thrown from the school’s roof, which he said was “absolutely unrelated” to the shooting. Vandalism prompted school administrators to post two letters to parents on the school’s website this month, saying they were responding to rumors of threats against the school but found none.

Authorities did not immediately release the suspect’s name, but Bouchard said the deputy arrested him within minutes of arriving at the school in response to a flood of 911 calls about the attack, shortly before 1 p.m. happened. From a bathroom with the gun, which he said still contained seven rounds of ammunition.

“I believe they shot the suspect with a loaded shotgun while in the building,” Bouchard said.

McCabe said the suspect’s parents visited their son where he is kept and advised him not to speak to investigators as he had a right. He said the police should seek permission from the parents or guardians of the juvenile suspect to speak to them.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald issued a statement Tuesday evening saying her office expects to release the charges quickly and will provide an update on Wednesday.

McCabe said he was not aware of any prior run-ins the suspect had with law enforcement or if he had any disciplinary history at the school.

Before delivering remarks at a community college in Rosemount, Minnesota, President Joe Biden said: “As we learn the full details, my heart goes out to the families who are enduring the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one.”

The school was closed after the attack, with some children taking shelter in closed classrooms while authorities searched the premises. He was later taken to a nearby Meijer grocery store to be picked up by his parents.

The district said in a statement that all of its schools would remain closed for the rest of the week.

Isabel Flores, a 15-year-old ninth grade student, told WJBK-TV that she and other students heard gunshots and saw another student’s face oozing blood. They then ran from the area behind the school, she said.

Officials said they were searching the suspect’s cellphone, school video footage and social media posts for any evidence of possible motive.

A concerned parent, Robin Redding, said their son, Treshan Bryant, is in 12th grade at school but stayed home on Tuesday. She said she had heard threats that there might be a shooting.

“It can’t just be random,” she said.

Redding did not provide details about what her son had heard, but he expressed concern about the safety of the school in general.

“Kids, like they’re mad at each other in this school,” she said.

Bryant said that he texted several younger cousins ​​in the morning and they said they didn’t want to go to school, and felt bad. He asked his mother if he could do his assignment online.

Bryant said he had heard vague threats “for a long time” about plans to shoot.

“You shouldn’t play about it,” he said of the threats. “this is real life.”

In a vigil at Lakepoint Community Church on Tuesday night, Leanne Dursa burst into tears as she hugged friends and neighbors. Dersa has spent almost all of her 73 years in Oxford and her grandchildren attend high school.

“Something terrible scared us all. It’s terrible,” Deersa said of the shooting.

For Greg Hill, the day turned his stomach into knots. His children attend the primary school in the district, and he brought them under observation.

“Just glad our kids are safe and it’s time for the community to recover,” said Hill, 40.

Pastor Jesse Holt said he and his wife were reported to have been shot, with lessons from some of the 20 to 25 students in the 400-member congregation.

“Some were very scared, hiding under their desks and sending us messages, ‘We’re safe, we’re fine. We heard gunshots, but we’re fine.'” They were trying to pacify us, at least that’s what it felt like.”

A student messaged that she was hiding in the bathroom with a boy who also sought refuge.

Holt said that after the deputy arrested the shooter, the girl ran away from school and someone living nearby took her with her until her mother picked her up.

“That’s our community,” he said. “That’s us.”

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Associated Press writers Corey Williams in West Bloomfield, Michigan, Kathleen Foodie in Chicago, Josh Bock in Rosemount, Minnesota, and David Aguilar in Oxford Township contributed to this report.