Viral social media posts reveal panic, fear during Oxford school shooting

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

"Sheriff's office. It's safe to come out."

These were the words heard by students in a classroom, hunkered down during a deadly shooting at Oxford High School this week, according to a video posted on social media. 

One student engaged the person on the other side of the door. Then, the person who said he was a sheriff's officer told the student to open the door and referred to him as, "bro."

"He said, 'bro'," said another student. "Red flag!"

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said Wednesday that the person at the door was, in fact, a plainclothes law enforcement official who used more relaxed language to try to put students at ease.

On social media, however, it had been circulating for more than 24 hours that it was, perhaps, the shooter trying to gain entry. Video inside the school, the sheriff said, shows the shooter did not approach that classroom.

 The video shows the students locked in the room got up and dashed out a back door and into another part of the school where they were greeted by law enforcement, assuring them they were safe.

Social media posts such as this from Oxford gave a glimpse into the terror that gripped the community.

Authorities allege that 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley brought a 9mm Sig Sauer semi-automatic pistol to school. Four students are dead — Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; and Justin Shilling, 17 — and seven are wounded.

Prosecutors charged Crumbley as an adult on Wednesday with numerous felony counts, including murder and terrorism.

Friends and family turned to social media to show their pain and sorrow, and many posts have since gone viral.

Rick Allen went on Facebook and said that his daughter and a nephew were home safe but his heart "goes out to the families that lost their children today." 

Allen posted a screen shot of a text message exchange with his daughter on Facebook and said he prayed "that no one ever gets this text message from their child!"

"dad I love you" the text message began.

"Love you too," the father replied.

"there is a shooter at our school and i love you so much you are the best dad i could have ever asked for thank you for everything you have ever done for me."

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer posted a story on Instagram, calling the incident "horrific" and "every students', teachers' and parents' worst nightmare."

"This is a time for Michiganders to come together for the Oxford community," Whitmer said. "We have to wrap our arms around this town that is going through unimaginable pain and heartbreak.

"We have a responsibility to protect each other from the gun violence, public health crisis that we all face," Whitmer continued. "We have to build a state where no one is afraid to go to school, or work, or a house of worship or even their own home."