Zander Cumbey had walked into his afternoon high school classroom when he heard screaming outside in the hallway.
The cries were punctuated by a gunshot, he said.
“My teacher, he walked into the classroom; he locked the door, and he told us to call 911. And then we heard the rest of the gunshots go off, more screams,” Cumbey told CNN.
Authorities say at least 30 shots were fired, killing four students and wounding six other teenagers along with one teacher before the alleged shooter – a student at Oxford High school – was detained by police with rounds still in his handgun.
Unleashed was the deadliest school shooting on a K-12 campus in the US since May 2018, forever scarring the Oxford community in suburban Detroit.
The four students who died were Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; and Justin Shilling, 17, authorities said.
While the bursts of gunfire lasted only minutes, authorities said there is substantial evidence that it was a premeditated attack by the accused shooter, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley.
“A preliminary review of the defendant’s social media accounts, his cellphone, as well as other documented evidence recovered on scene showed that this defendant planned this shooting, he deliberately brought the handgun that day with the intent to murder as many students as he could,” Prosecutor Marc Keast said during Crumbley’s arraignment on Wednesday.
The high school sophomore is facing a slew of charges as an adult, including first-degree murder, terrorism and other accusations. In court on Wednesday, his lawyer, Scott Kozak, asked to enter a not-guilty plea during the arraignment, saying “my client is standing mute.”
His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were each charged Friday with involuntary manslaughter in connection with their son’s alleged actions. After failing to turn up at their arraignment, they were arrested in Detroit. The parents pleaded not guilty Saturday, and were being held on bond set at $500,000 each.
The weekend before the shooting
James Crumbley bought the gun authorities believe was used in the shooting on November 26 at an Oxford store with his son, according to Karen McDonald, the Oakland County prosecutor who is leading the case.
Around the same day, the alleged shooter posted a photo of a handgun on an Instagram account with the caption, “Just got my new beauty today. SIG SAUER 9mm” with a heart-eyes emoji, McDonald said at a news conference on Friday.
Jennifer Crumbley also posted about the gun on social media over the weekend, saying, “mom and son day testing out his new Christmas present,” McDonald said.
And during the weekend, Jennifer Crumbley took her son to a shooting range, a law enforcement source told CNN.
Disturbing red flags before the shooting
As classes resumed after the long Thanksgiving holiday, a teacher noticed Ethan Crumbley searching the web for ammunition, McDonald said. The teacher notified school officials, who contacted the parents via phone and email, but they did not respond.
Later on Monday, Jennifer Crumbley sent him a text message saying, “LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,” McDonald said.
In two videos on Crumbley’s phone that were recorded that night, he talked about shooting and killing students at the high school, said Lt. Tim Willis of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.
Another piece of evidence is a journal found in Crumbley’s backpack that details his “desire to shoot up the school to include murdering students,” Willis said at the arraignment.