By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
When word of an active shooter came through dispatches through the region, Oxford authorities were some of the first to respond.
Located only a couple miles from the school, the Oxford Village Police and Oxford Fire Department sent cruisers and ambulances to the scene within minutes. Both departments have issued statements, with the fire department declining to publicly disclose details of the incident as of Dec. 1.
“Your Fire Department is working through everything that took place,” the statement, signed by Chief Peter Scholz and Assistant Chief Matthew Majestic, reads. “We are working to take care of our fire family so that we can take care of you in your time of need. We are part of this community at many levels. We are going to help this community begin the healing process … We are here for you.”
The police department’s statement, authored by Chief Micheal Solwold, dwelled on the emotions he felt being at the scene and thanked many first responders who responded to the call.
“When you get a call to an active shooter and assist other agencies, you go in with your weapons and you’re prepared to stop the threat,” Solwold later said.
Solwold says he was the second of several Oxford Village officers to arrive at the high school after the call, clearing hallways to make sure there were no other shooters — an unknown in the moments immediately following the attack — and looking for injured students. The department assisted with getting students and faculty out of the building.
“It’s a tough one to comprehend,” Solwold said. “Honestly I feel like I’m still in a nightmare and I’m waiting for someone to pinch me.”
Students thanked officers on their way out and down to Meijer.
Solwold praised the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office for their performance during the shooting and collecting evidence; the suspect was apprehended about five minutes after the shooting started and had nearly 20 rounds with him. The chief was grateful as well for the overwhelming number of agencies that responded.
“When the police need other police, we come,” Solwold said. “When we do, we come in many numbers. It’s one of the things you’re proud of being in this profession, because you know when there’s a situation and you’re in trouble, they’re gonna come to your need.”
Support between officers also emerged in the aftermath. Oxford officers have been in contact with neighboring departments, working through their experiences at the high school.
Since then, the police have taken on a mix of supporting roles and regular patrol functions. Plans to close down streets for Saturday’s would-be Christmas Parade were repurposed for Friday night’s vigil, and officers were posted at the suspect’s residence while his parents were on the run.
“This community, like other communities, is going to get through this,” Solwold said. “We’re going to get through it together. I have no doubt about that … This is a lifelong scar, but I know this community will pull through like it always does.”
By Dean Vaglia