Family members of survivors from the Oxford High School shooting react to Ethan Crumbley pleading guilty to 24 charges.
The courtroom on Monday was filled with families of the victims, who for the first time came face-to-face with the Oxford High School shooter.
Meghan Gregory’s son Keegan didn’t want to be in the courtroom, but he watched the trial via Zoom. Gregory came to see for herself the young man who shot and killed Justin Shilling as her son Keegan watched, leaving him changed forever.
For Gregory and some other Oxford High School parents, today’s guilty plea spares them a trial.
“Seeing him and then going back thinking wow that was who held my son and Justin in the bathroom for so many minutes, staring at them,” said Gregory. “I just - it puts chills down my spine.”
Shilling was protecting Keegan when he was killed. Keegan was hiding in a bathroom stall texting his parents when the shooter opened fire. “I’m hiding in the bathroom,” “OMG,” “HELP,” “MOM,” “He killed him,” “OM*G” -- these were all text messages Keegan sent his parents.
After Shilling was shot, Keegan was able to run away from the shooter.
Read: Oxford High School shooter ‘did not know’ victims
Aiden Watson, one of the students injured by the Oxford High School shooter, escaped the school building with a help of a friend after being shot.
The shooter admitted that he had intentions of killing Watson when he assaulted him with a 9mm handgun.
“The hardest thing to hear is your child’s name and then to have him say ‘yes,’ that he did shoot my son with the intent to murder him. I can’t even describe that emotion,” said Linda Watson.
Related: Family of Oxford High School shooting survivor describes what happened to him, his battle to recover
Oxford school district released a statement in a response to Crumbley pleading guilty to 24 charges on Monday.
You can view that statement below.
Dear Oxford Schools Community,
The unimaginable tragedy on Nov. 30, 2021, has shaken us all to our core. Today’s guilty plea is a step toward bringing justice for Hana, Justin, Madisyn, Tate, their families, the injured, and all who have been affected by that horrible day.
Today’s reports may have understandably created profound emotional reactions. It is hard to know how we will respond or feel when hearing and seeing the proceedings of today and of those yet to come. Although we did not discuss the court proceedings as a whole in our classrooms, we have encouraged our Oxford High School students to reach out to an adult if they need any support, especially throughout this week.
We want all of our students, families, and staff to know that mental health specialists are here to support you. Additionally, the All for Oxford Resiliency Center is available for anyone who would like to speak with professionally-trained counselors and can be reached at 248-653-5511 and the 24/7 Helpline from Common Ground is reachable at 1-248-653-5525.
We have a long road ahead as our Wildcat community continues to experience the trauma, grief, loss, and pain caused by this tragedy. I hope today will be a step in our community’s continued journey of healing.
SuperintendentOxford Community Schools
Oxford High School shooting timeline: What happened before, inside school and afterward