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A security officer at Oxford High School allegedly thought the deadly November 2021 shooting was an active shooter drill, telling investigators that she assumed a bleeding victim she walked past had “really good makeup” on.
Kimberly Potts, a retired law enforcement official who was employed by Oxford Community Schools as an armed security officer at the time, also allegedly opened the door of a bathroom that two students and the shooting suspect were in, closed the door, and walked away. One of the students hiding was later shot in that bathroom and died the next day.
These new allegations were revealed on Wednesday by the victims’ families and their lawyer, Ven Johnson. The families are now seeking to include Potts as a defendant in their civil lawsuit over the Michigan school shooting that killed four students and injured several more.
The families did not know about Potts’s involvement until Johnson reviewed surveillance video of the shooting at the prosecutor’s office recently, the lawyer said at a press conference Wednesday. The video has not been shared with the public because it’s under a court protective order.
In the video, Potts is seen walking “casually” down the hallway during the shooting. She later told investigators that she assumed it was an ALICE drill, a lockdown training to prepare students for an active shooter, the filing said.
Potts then came across one of the victims, 16-year-old Tate Myre, bleeding on the ground after being shot. She told investigators she thought he had “really good makeup on” as part of the ALICE drill, according to the filing.
The video also shows Potts peeping into the bathroom where Justin Shilling, Keegan Gregory, and alleged shooter Ethan Crumbley were in, the families alleged. Potts told investigators that she did not go inside the bathroom, where Shilling was later killed, because she didn’t see or hear anything.
“Ms. Potts clearly had an opportunity to intervene and prevent Justin’s death,” the filing said.
The suspect is then seen on video walking out of the bathroom after fatally shooting Shilling, placing his gun down, and surrendering to police, according to the court filing. The families believe that had Potts entered the bathroom and confronted him, the suspect would have surrendered before allegedly killing Shilling and threatening to shoot Gregory.
“I kind of feel like this is kind of like a poorly written movie or some kind of candid TV show. And I’m looking for cameras, but I don’t find them,” Craig Shilling, Justin Shilling’s dad, told reporters on Wednesday, as he became emotional. “It’s difficult to know that he could still be here if somebody did their job.”
Potts is no longer with the school district. On LinkedIn, she listed her employment as a student monitor with Oxford High School from January 2020 to June 2022. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The 15-year-old suspect has been charged with murder and terrorism, among other charges. His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, who bought him the gun he allegedly used in the shooting, also face involuntary manslaughter charges — an extraordinary indictment that the prosecutor said was aimed at holding them responsible as gun owners.
The school district is facing multiple lawsuits from the students’ families. This civil lawsuit, filed in Michigan state, already names several Oxford High employees, Oxford Community Schools, and the Crumbleys as defendants.
Johnson said it was the fourth time they were filing a motion to amend the lawsuit, and criticized the school district’s lack of cooperation and transparency.
“We keep finding out new things, like every day — because of the lack of transparency, in particular, of Oxford Community Schools. They should have told these folks and their constituents what happened,” he said. “They’ve said nothing and they continue [to] say nothing.”
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