The police have apprehended 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley after being identified as a suspect in Tuesday’s mass school shooting at Oxford High School, a suburban high school in Oxford Township, Michigan, USA.
What a world it is, where news of mass shootings in schools and other public places no longer surprises or shocks anyone. Like just another day in the office, reports of a school shooting that took the lives of 4 students and left 8 others injured circulated on Tuesday 30 November 2021, making it the 29th case in 2021 alone. Brandishing a semi-automatic 9mm Sig Sauer handgun his father had reportedly purchased on Black Friday sales few days prior, the assailant emerged from one of the school’s bathrooms some minutes after noon and started shooting students at point blank range.
As was later seen on his Instagram page, Ethan had subtly talked about his imminent killing spree in a post where he wrote, “Now I become death – destroyer of worlds – see you tomorrow Oxford,” suggesting that it was by all intent and purposes, a premeditated act. He was charged as an adult with one count of terrorism, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Oakland County undersheriff Mike McCabe revealed that further search of the suspect’s house led to discovery of more guns and a journal that contained notes about his fantasies of perpetrating violence to his peers at school. Crumbley pleaded not guilty in a virtual session on Wednesday, and when asked by the judge if he understood the charges, he replied, “Yes, I do”.
There have been 21 school shootings between August and November 2021, let’s go over 5 of them.
1. Humboldt basketball game shooting
On Tuesday 30 Nov. 2021, a normal evening of interschool basketball games between Humboldt High School and North Side turned into a tragedy in less than two hours when shots were fired outside the gym near the concession stand. The shooting took the life of 21-year-old Justin Kevon Pankey, of Humboldt, who died at the scene in the lobby of the Thomas Boykin Gymnasium at Humboldt High, and left two (Xavier Clifton and Dontavious Cross) injured. 18-year-old Jadon Davon Hardiman has been identified as the suspect and charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder with serious bodily injury, armed dangerous felons (three counts), tampering with evidence and carrying a gun or weapon onto school property.
Though he is yet to be in custody as at the time this was reported, investigations are ongoing, and residents were encouraged by the Humboldt Police Department to call in if they have any information.
2. Cesar Chavez High School shooting
On Tuesday, 30 November 2021, a 15-year-old boy was arrested after shooting another high school student in west Phoenix. This happened after a gun deal between the shooter and the victim went bad. The victim had brought the gun in question to school with an intent to sell it to the 15-year-old suspect. However, after the transaction, which was done in one of the school’s bathrooms, the seller realized the money paid to him was fake. An argument ensued, and the buyer ended up shooting the seller. According to the Phoenix police, the wounded teen is expected to survive and will face charges after his release from the hospital, including weapon violations.
On the other hand, the 15-year-old shooter has been apprehended and is facing multiple charges, including endangerment and aggravated assault. The authorities are yet to recover the gun, as at the time of this report.
3. Hinkley High School parking lot shooting
On 19 November 2021, three 16-year-old boys were involved in a gang-related school parking lot shooting that left three teenage students wounded. Investigations revealed that the students came to school armed due to fear of being jumped by rival gang members. They told police they armed themselves in preparation for a fight with “Boner Boys” gang members. The boys, Larry Renee Jefferson, Dalen Lenale Brewer, and Diego Flores, now face four counts of attempted first-degree murder and multiple other charges.
4. Timberview High School shooting
18-year-old Timothy George Simpkins faces three counts of aggravated assault four a shooting that left four injured at the Timberview High School in Arlington on 6 October 2021. According to the police, the incident seemed to have resulted from a fight at the Mansfield ISD school, which, as seen in a video that circulated online, involved two boys in a classroom. A 25-year-old man, a teenage girl, and another adult were some of those who suffered injuries from the incident. “This is not a random act of violence,” said Assistant Chief Kevin Kolbye when addressing the press, adding that the police believed it was a case of a student who got into a fight.
The school was placed on lockdown to perform a methodical search. Police from Arlington, Grand Prairie, Mansfield, and Mansfield ISD, alongside the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, were all at the school. Students were allowed back in school after it was ascertained there was no longer any immediate danger. Heavy police presence was also maintained on the premises for some hours.
5. Ben Davis High School football game shooting
On 4 October 2021, an 18-year-old was accused of ‘accidentally’ shooting another teen during a Ben Davis High School football game. The culprit, David Tillman, told the police that he accidentally shot the other boy after having earlier fired warning shots. He also claims the shot was fired in self-defense after an initial disturbance from the victim. His victim was shot in the right elbow and was taken to the hospital in stable condition. Tillman faced preliminary charges of battery by means of a deadly weapon, criminal recklessness, and carrying a handgun without a license.
In one video, obtained by the authorities, six gunshots can be heard in quick succession, and the players were seen scampering off the field of play. A 9mm semiautomatic Taurus handgun was recovered from the shooter, and six matching casings were found on the premises.
On a passing note
Just like these highlighted cases, there are many others across the US of teenage shooters in schools. The frequency of these occurrences keeps increasing, and there seem no viable solutions in sight. Children are not safe in schools, and parents watch their kids leave for school every day, holding their breaths and praying for their return in one piece. Sending prayers and thoughts to families of victims no longer cut it, and when a lasting solution comes is what people are waiting for.
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