Viral Video of Person Knocking on Class Door During Oxford Shooting Wasn't Killer: Sheriff

The Oakland County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday a video circulating on social media that appeared to show Oxford High School students listening as someone instructed them to open their classroom door did not involve the alleged shooter.

In the hours after the Tuesday fatal shooting at the Michigan high school occurred, rumors began spreading that the alleged shooter had knocked on classroom doors pretending to be a law enforcement official before he was taken into custody.

Officials said Wednesday the person who was later arrested "never knocked on a door."

One unnamed parent of a student at the school told the Detroit-based WJBK that his son climbed through a window in order to leave the classroom where he was hiding. His son claimed the shooter was pretending to be a law enforcement official sent to the classroom to help the students as they took cover, according to the parent.

"They were impersonating sheriffs there trying to get into the door," the parent told WJBK. "My son was actually barricaded under a desk, they were actually knocking on the door trying to get into his classroom."

Oxford High School shooting
Law enforcement officials said Tuesday three people were killed and eight others were injured during a school shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan. Here, an ambulance sits at a police roadblock restricting access to the school on November 30 in Oxford, Michigan. Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images

A video that began circulating Tuesday afternoon on TikTok also appeared to show students listening to calls from outside their classroom to open the door and deliberating amongst themselves about whether to do so before ultimately fleeing out their classroom window.

Officials with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference that the individual who could be heard in the video encouraging students to open their classroom door was "more than likely" a plainclothes detective.

"The suspect, we have now confirmed by analyzing all of the video from the time it began to the time we took him into custody, never knocked on a door," officials said.

Three students were killed during the shooting, according to Undersheriff Michael McCabe with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department. The entire incident was estimated to have lasted about five minutes. During a Tuesday afternoon press conference, McCabe said six other individuals, including one teacher, were wounded and taken to local hospitals for treatment of their injuries.

Police said later Tuesday that two additional individuals who were injured in the shooting had been identified, bringing the total number of people receiving treatment for gunshot wounds to eight. Six of the injured individuals were in stable condition and the other two were in surgery, the Oakland County Sheriff's Office said in a Tuesday evening Facebook post.

The names of the three individuals who were fatally shot have not yet been publicly released, but authorities did identify them as a 16-year-old male and two females ages 14 and 17.

The suspected shooter was taken into custody minutes after authorities received the first call about an active shooter incident at the high school. Officials received more than 100 calls in total about the shooting, McCabe said.

The suspected shooter's name has not yet been released by authorities, but McCabe did identify him as a 15-year-old enrolled as a sophomore at the school. Authorities recovered a semiautomatic handgun from the alleged shooter as he was taken into custody, McCabe said.

"Deputies confronted him. He had the weapon on him. They took him into custody," the undersheriff told reporters.

"Multiple" shell casings were found in the school, McCabe said. An estimated 15 to 20 shots were believed to have been fired, he added.

"At this point in time, we believe he acted alone," McCabe told reporters, adding that authorities will be combing through social media posts and speaking with students in the days to come as the investigation into the shooting moves forward.

The suspected shooter was taken to Oakland County Children's Village, the Oakland County Sheriff's Office said in its Facebook post.

Authorities were expected to hold another press conference to provide updates in connection with the school shooting later Tuesday at 10 p.m. local time.

Newsweek reached out to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office for comment.

Editor's note: The headline for this story has been updated to reflect that law enforcement officials said the alleged shooter was not the person heard encouraging students to open their classroom door in a video circulating on social media after the shooting occurred.

Update 12/1/21, 4:15 p.m. ET: with additional information presented Wednesday during an Oakland County Sheriff's Office press conference.