Oakland County Sheriff's deputies were called to respond to reports of a shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan on Tuesday. Within minutes, a 15-year-old student was taken into custody. The result: four students dead and seven others injured, including a teacher.
Those who lost their lives were Hana St. Juliana, 14, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Justin Shilling, 17 (who passed away on Wednesday morning) – and 16-year-old Tate Myre, who is said to have risked his life to help other students. At press time, more than 53,000 people had signed a petition calling upon the school to rename its Wildcat Stadium after Myre because of his heroic actions.
Active shooter? What individuals should do
American Family News spoke to Scott Hyderkhan about the deadly incident. Hyderkhan is a 19-year law enforcement veteran and retired U.S. Army master sergeant. He is an active shooter response training instructor and author a training manual on the topic.
The Kinetic Tactical Training Solutions instructor says that as the world awaits all the details of the shooting incident to be made public, there are recommended actions to take to respond to shooting incidents to help prevent mass casualties. The new standard, he says, is "Run, Hide, Fight":
- Those who can escape, he explains, should quickly leave the area.
- If a safe exit is not possible, he advises they hide by barricading inside a classroom, for example.
- And as a last resort, Hyderkhan says, potential victims should try to distract the shooter or disable the threat.
Much of this "advice in a nutshell" is dependent on the ages of the potential victims, he points out. He recommends that individuals take training courses to grasp the full scope of how to respond to a shooting situation.
According to Hyderkhan, students who are involved in a shooting incident often respond differently depending on their ages. "A high schooler or middle schooler has self-preservation skills, as they are older and can react quickly to the situation," he cites. Myre, a teenager, put himself in harm's way to preserve the lives of others, for example.
Younger students should look to teachers
In situations where people lack the maturity it takes to quickly decide how to respond, however, younger students are often dependent on a schoolteacher.
"Teachers should try to escort students out of the situation [when there's an] opportune moment," Hyderkan advises – adding that if such a moment doesn't present itself, it is better that the teacher "try to hide them and secure them as safely as possible."
Admittedly, that's a tough decision for teachers to make, says Hyderkhan.
"Is it better for me to move my students out of this area? Or is it better for me to hide them?" he poses as the quandary educators might face.
And with multiple distractions throughout the day, a teacher is "never totally on guard," he acknowledges.
"How diligent can a teacher be to think about how to reach to these situations day in and day out?" he asks. Yet, he is thankful there are times when teachers have stopped these dangerous, often deadly, incidents.
Law enforcement's priority: Make contact with threat
On Tuesday, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard explained deputies were dispatched to Oxford High School at 12:52 p.m., and the shooter was taken into custody within three minutes of their arrival.
"Once the threat was identified," Hyderkhan emphasizes, "they moved quickly to the location, fully prepared to move on the threat."
But the training instructor says a sole officer who arrives at the scene "must respond [to the threat] – even if … there's no other officers." Then as other officers arrive, that officer must "be able to communicate with those additional officers to coordinate the effort to search and make contact."
Secondarily, according to Hyderkhan, the location of casualties is reported. As more officers arrive to the scene, areas to care for the injured can be isolated; and once the area is secured, casualties can be cared for and possibly be removed from the area.
No motive has been revealed for the deadly incident at Oxford High on Tuesday, and the apprehended shooter is not speaking with authorities at this time. Approximately 1,800 students attend the high school, which located about 30 miles north of Detroit.
The Oakland County Sheriff's Office is regularly updating the public via its Facebook page.
"A search warrant was executed at the suspect's residence and is being inventoried. The firearm used was a 9mm Sig Sauer and had been purchased by the father four days prior to the incident. There was no prior information shared with the Sheriff's Office or the School Resource Officer before the incident," according to a recent post.