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'This is our community': Oxford village police chief reflects on deadly high school shooting

Posted at 8:33 AM, Dec 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 08:33:26-05

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — The small village of Oxford is still stunned by the horrific shootings inside Oxford High School.

The shooting suspect, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, lives in the village of Oxford, which is in Oxford Township, where the high school is located.

“We had no prior contacts and we had no prior information that this incident would occur,” Oxford Village Police Department Chief Mike Solwold said. “We wanted to make sure if there were any ties or anything we needed to look into, that was something we definitely needed to do. So, we did check on that and we had no prior contacts with the suspect.”

Solwold also told the 7 Investigators they had not had contact with Crumbley’s family, nor did they have any warning about Tuesday’s deadly attack.

We haven’t had any issues with that family or any weapons in the past,” Solwold said.

The small police department and tight-knit community are reeling from the violence.

“I started my career as a school liaison in this town, and these are our kids, this is our community. I know these kids. I know their families. It’s absolutely heartbreaking — my heart goes out to the families, the kids, the victims, the faculty at the school. They see these kids every day and work with these kids every day,” Solwold said.

Solwold responded to the school Tuesday and helped clear the classrooms during the aftermath.

“At that time, we’re getting students out, students are coming out with their hands up. And even when they’re going by me with tears and fears, they’re actually thanking us as they’re running out of the school in fear. I had to compose myself and get myself back in order because I’ve got a job to do, I’ve got to get back inside and get more kids out of the school, just like many of the other first responders did,” Solwold said.

He said the Village of Oxford is hosting a candlelight vigil at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

“We’re going to reroute traffic downtown so people can gather and hug it out and talk it out and do what we need to do to heal. And it starts now,” Solwold said.