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15-year-old charged in Michigan school shooting

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Prosecutors have charged a 15-year-old boy with murder, terrorism and other crimes in connection with yesterday's deadly school shooting in Michigan. Ethan Crumbley is being charged as an adult and is accused of firing a semiautomatic handgun in a hallway at Oxford High School. That's about 40 miles north of Detroit. Three students died yesterday; a fourth succumbed to his injuries today. Seven others, including a teacher, were wounded. Steve Carmody with Michigan Public Radio joins us. And, Steve, are we getting any more clearer picture of what happened at the school yesterday?

STEVE CARMODY, BYLINE: Well, investigators have been reviewing video surveillance footage from inside the school to piece together the chronology of events. Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard says the suspect started shooting students walking down a hallway as he emerged from a boys' bathroom.

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MIKE BOUCHARD: The suspect, we believe at this point now, had three 15-round magazines. Two were initially recovered by investigators. And after a thorough forensic examination of the crime scene, which went until 5:30 this morning, another magazine was recovered.

CARMODY: Bouchard says that he reloaded his weapon during the five-minute shooting spree, firing maybe 30 rounds. When he was - when he surrendered, he still had 18 rounds of ammunition, seven loose in his pocket and 11 in the weapon's magazines.

KELLY: This boy is a boy. He's 15. He's being charged as an adult. How does that work?

CARMODY: Given - the prosecutor outlined that today. Basically, it's the seriousness of the crime, plus the premeditation that she is alleging was involved.

KELLY: OK. Do we know any more about why - any information on a motive?

CARMODY: At this point, the motive remains unknown, but there may be some clues. Before Crumbley's arraignment this afternoon, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said the shooting was premeditated, though it's not believed any of the victims were being specifically targeted.

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KAREN MCDONALD: We've charged four counts of first-degree murder, which requires premeditation. And I am absolutely sure after reviewing the evidence that it isn't even a close call.

CARMODY: Now, apparently, school officials were concerned about the student's behavior. He met twice with school officials this week, including on the morning of the shooting, when he and his parents met with school officials to discuss what is only being described as concerning behavior. But police say they were not aware of those meetings at that time. Sheriff Mike Bouchard urges people to contact law enforcement when there are serious concerns about potentially dangerous behavior.

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BOUCHARD: We encourage all schools, public or private, houses of worship, businesses, anyone that has any concerning behavior, they should report it. Allow law enforcement the opportunity to make the situation safe, to say there's nothing to it or we need to look deeper. That's what we want to do. It's not a burden.

CARMODY: Investigators are reviewing the 15-year-old's social media posts for possible clues for a motive. The sheriff's department says the suspect and his parents are not cooperating with the investigation at this point, and officials did say that he wasn't on any law enforcement radar before the incident.

KELLY: And just briefly, Steve, what do we know about the parents?

CARMODY: Well, we as we heard, the sheriff told us that the parents met face to face with school officials just hours before the shooting to talk about their son's behavior. We also heard that the father purchased the handgun just last week. And the prosecutor said today that she is considering charges against the parents.

KELLY: Steve Carmody with Michigan Radio, thank you.

CARMODY: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting. During his two and a half decades in broadcasting, Steve has won numerous awards, including accolades from the Associated Press and Radio and Television News Directors Association. Away from the broadcast booth, Steve is an avid reader and movie fanatic. Q&A