CLARCKSTON, Mich. (WOOD/AP) — The Oxford community is mourning the loss of the four young lives lost Tuesday, holding a vigil Wednesday night to grieve and remember the teens whose lives were taken far too soon.
The community is mourning the loss of 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin and 17-year-old Justin Shilling, who died after a school shooting at Oxford High School.
Many students who knew the victims attended a memorial in nearby Clarkston, bringing together students from Oxford High School and neighboring communities to grieve.
Those who knew the victims lit candles at a memorial at Bridgewood Church to represent each life lost.
Zach Jones, a Lake Orion student who has friends at Oxford High School and who competed in football with Myre, was there to be in solidarity with their pain.
“I think anyway that people could help would be amazing,” Jones said. “It’s just so many people here are broken and confused. They need everyone’s support.”
Lead pastor Curt Demoff says the students need that support now more than ever.
“I think it’s really important in a moment of crisis that we help people to understand that pain and grief in life is unavoidable, but staying in pain and grief is optional,” Demoff said. “We’ve got to help them make the choice to move on to find strength.”
The students are remembered for their commitment to athletics, art and family:
Madisyn Baldwin, 17
Madisyn Baldwin’s grandmother told NBC Detroit affiliate WDIV that she was a talented artist who loved to draw, read and write.
The 17-year-old was the oldest child in her family, with a half-brother and two sisters. Her grandmother said she already had received multiple college acceptances, some with a full-ride scholarship, and was looking forward to the future. She described her granddaughter as patient and “so kind.”
The grandmother said losing her so suddenly and soon has devastated their family.
“I’m just glad that we all got together for Thanksgiving. Just today, we were talking about all the things that are planned for this coming weekend and… hundreds, thousands of people have reached out already, (saying) that she was an important part of their lives and touched them already. It’s just devastating,” she said. “She touched so many people, she had so much patience, she was so kind.”
Tate Myre, 16
During the Wednesday night vigil, the community played a video of Tate Myre in his football uniform — getting the community rallied up ahead of a big game — in tribute.
Myre was a member of the school’s varsity football team and an honor student, according to the football team’s tribute to him on Twitter.
“Tate was a great young man with a bright future and beloved by all,” the post read. “You will be missed, Tate.”
Myre frequently shared video highlights of his play during football games and recently retweeted a media interview following a playoff game win on a rainy evening. Reflecting on an 0-3 start to the season, he said the team worked hard and had to trust and love one another to recover.
“Rain is just like Oxford football, tough, muddy,” he said, wearing the number 42 on his white jersey. “Everything about us is tough.”
Brett Moore, 46, said his son, a sophomore at Oxford High School who played football with Myre, is taking his friend’s death “very badly.”
“Tate drove him home from practice every day and they went to homecoming together,” said Moore, who teaches in Walled Lake schools. “He was a great kid.”
Hana St. Juliana, 14
Hana St. Juliana also was remembered for her passion and commitment to athletics.
The Oxford women’s basketball program paid tribute to the 14-year-old St. Juliana on Twitter.
“We will never forget your kind heart, silly personality, and passion for the game,” the team’s post said. “Since 6th grade camp you have stayed dedicated to Oxford Basketball, soaking in the game. … This season we play for you Hana.”
Jennifer and Shannon Curtis were close friends with Juliana’s family, they told WDIV.
“She had a big bright smile and … I can’t believe she’s not here,” Jennifer Curtis said. “Her big heart, her unbelievable desire and will to help anyone.”
Hannah used to vacation with them at the lake.
“She was just a kind kid. I’ve never heard her say anything bad about anybody,” Shannon Curtis said.
Justin Shilling, 17
Authorities on Wednesday announced that a fourth student died of his injuries that morning. They identified him as 17-year-old Justin Shilling.
Managers of a restaurant in nearby Lake Orion, Anita’s Kitchen, said Shilling worked there — one of many employees who attended Oxford High School since they opened.
“Justin was an exemplary employee, a devoted friend and co-worker, co-captain of his bowling team, and simply a pleasure to be around,” a message on the restaurant’s Facebook page said.
People say he had a smile no one could ever forget.
Another six unidentified students and a teacher were wounded.
Here are their ages and conditions as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department:
— 14-year-old male, treated and released.
— 17-year-old female, stable.
— 15-year-old male, treated and released.
—17-year-old male, treated and released.
— 47-year-old female teacher, treated and released.
— 14-year-old female, stable.
— 17-year-old female, critical.
News Researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed from New York.