‘Beyond heartbroken, we’re traumatized, we’re devastated’: Oxford shooting victim’s parents sue district

Justin Shilling helped six people through organ donations and he saved his friend during the shooting

One of the victims parents from the Oxford School shooting is hoping to get justice.

OXFORD, Mich. – His mother says his soul can’t rest until the truth comes out as the parents of Oxford High School shooting victim Justin Shilling are joining a lawsuit and filing an additional federal lawsuit against Oxford Schools.

That new lawsuit is against Oxford Community Schools and Oxford High School teachers, counselors, and administrators.

“Justin’s final moments were spent protecting Keegan,” said his mother Jill Soave. “No 17-year-old should be put in that position.”

Shilling’s mom and dad say they should be planning graduation parties for their son, but all of that was taken from them last Nov. 30 inside Oxford High School.

“We are beyond heartbroken, we’re traumatized, we’re devastated and we are not ok,” Soave said. “It’s been 174 days since he was murdered and it feels like it was just last week. For me, there will never be healing, there will only be coping.”

“You only wish that they will have what you had when they graduated,” said Shilling’s father, Craig Shilling. “The fun times with your friends and the parties.”

Justin Shilling’s parents are joining two lawsuits filed on behalf of other families devastated by the shooting.

One of the suits is in state court, and a new lawsuit is in federal court. Both will target the school’s suicide prevention program.

Attorney Ven Johnson says the school had a duty to assess the accused shooter before the shooting to see if he was a danger to himself or others.

Johnson says the point of the lawsuits is to find out what went wrong for the families what went wrong.

“Understanding what happened, full transparency, exposing that, calling attention to it coming up with better processes, so no one ever has to go through this again.”


About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.