Last Tuesday, (Aug. 29) the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) announced a Maryland teenager who they say was linked to threats to shoot up Oxford High School was arrested by Maryland State Police.
According to a release from the OCSO, the 17-year-old male from Baltimore, Md., was arrested on Aug. 24 and charged in Maryland juvenile court with multiple crimes including threats of mass harm and improper use of a telephone.
OCSO detectives were alerted to the Maryland threat after receiving an OK2Say tip from the Michigan State Police. County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said there were no firearms in the suspect’s home, and he had no means to carry out the threat.
The victims – three 14-year-old students and a 39-year-old woman from Oxford Township – were interviewed by OCSO detectives on Aug. 14 regarding a series of threatening phone calls made to their homes. In one instance, the suspect told one of the 14-year-olds he was going to shoot up the school and then the student was going to be shot next. The suspect also made inappropriate sexual comments to at least one of the students and a woman.
“We will work to hold anyone, anywhere accountable for threats they make against our community,” Bouchard said. “In this case, we partnered with the Maryland State Police to do just that. I thank our team for its swift work and thank the Maryland State Police for their partnership to run this down.”
Detectives do not believe the threats were prompted by the Nov. 30, 2021, fatal shooting at the high school in which four students were killed and six other students and a teacher were injured by the confessed shooter, who was 15 at the time and a student at the school. He is awaiting sentencing in December for first-degree murder in Oakland County Circuit Court.
According to the release, through their investigation, OCSO detectives were able to link the calls to a phone number in Maryland and ultimately located an address where the suspect lived. On Aug. 24 he was interviewed by Maryland State Police troopers and confessed to making the calls. The suspect also wrote a letter of apology. Bouchard expressed his gratitude for the assistance of the Maryland authorities.
“We run down threats with a sense of urgency and greatly appreciate that they do as well,” Bouchard said. “Whether a threat is intended to be carried out or not, it terrifies people and is a crime. “ Detectives believe the suspect may have obtained phone numbers for the victims through a mutual acquaintance who attended school here several years ago but no longer lives in the state.
On the same day the OCSO made their announcement, Oxford School Superintendent Dr. Vickie Markavitch issued another statement, which in part stated, “During the investigation, the suspect gave a confession to making the threats . . . The suspect had no means to carry out the threats which he had made. We are very grateful for our partnership with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. Tremendous gratitude goes out to our School Resource Officers for their diligent work and persistence with authorities across state lines to ensure this person was identified, investigated, and will be brought to justice.”
The OK2SAY tipline is a Michigan Student Safety Program. Anyone can report tips confidentially on criminal activities or potential harm directed at students, school employees, or schools. Tips can be submitted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 855-565-2729, texting 652729, or emailing OK2Say@Mi.gov.