How Mid-Michigan law enforcement, school officials prepare for tragedies

Tuesday shooting killed three students, wounded eight others
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 11:48 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2021 at 2:54 PM EST
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PONTIAC, Mich. (WILX) - At least three people were killed in a shooting Tuesday at Oxford High School in Oakland County.

Capt. Andy Daenzer, with the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, said law enforcement officers across Mid-Michigan are trained to respond.

“We do train regionally with other agencies in how to respond to these. Basically it’s trying to get to these things as quickly as you can,” Daenzer said.

Whenever tragedy strikes, it causes many to reflect on the things that are important to them.

“You always pray and hope that it doesn’t happen anywhere near where you are, but this is pretty close to home,” said Eaton Rapids superintendent Bill DeFrance.

Tuesday’s shooting sent shockwaves of fear throughout Michigan. DeFrance said it’s one of his worst nightmares.

Many rural schools are set up similar to Eaton Rapids, where grades K-12 are located in the same building, or at least on the same campus. DeFrance said even with the safety protocols they’ve already implemented, he said the incident in Oxford made him wonder if there’s more his district can do to protect the students.

“I think this just gives us a little bit more impetuous to pay attention and heighten our awareness of those things,” DeFrance said. “Because, it’s tragic but it hits close to home.”

DeFrance said they do drill in the schools to help in these situations. There are even experts that come in to observe and make sure they’re covering all their bases.

Dave Rayner, a former NFL player and kicker for Michigan State University, used to coach at Oxford High School. He took the 2021-22 school year off to focus on his new baby, but the team still looks for his leadership. He said one of the students who was killed and one of those injured were on the football team.

The team gathered Tuesday night to support each other. Rayner said the students experienced things most people could never imagine.

“There were literally kids that bullets were flying by them in the hallways. One of our guys is a teacher and he said, ‘You know all of the preparations for it, but when it’s happening, you’re trying to figure out if it’s real,’” Rayner said. “A couple of kids said they ran up and told teachers there was somebody shooting and the teachers didn’t really believe it right away until they heard the gunshots.”

Rayner said he hopes that all parents will talk to their children about reporting any strange behavior to an adult and to hug those you love.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office at 248-858-4911.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

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