ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Arriving at Rockford High School Wednesday morning, athletic director Cole Andrews passed the flag at half-staff, honoring the students killed in a school shooting on the other side of the state.
“It’s just unimaginable to think that such a great community like Oxford was impacted by such evil,” Andrews said.
A 15-year-old opened fire inside Oxford High School Tuesday, killing four of his schoolmates and injuring several others, as well as a teacher. He surrendered to police and was charged with murder Wednesday.
“I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around it, because it’s so similar to what Rockford is,” Andrews said. “It goes to show you, this can happen anywhere.”
He was AD at Oxford Community Schools north of Auburn Hills from 2015 to 2017.
“I know there was some of my coaches there were close to the shooter and I’m sure they’re dealing with things more mentally than physically right now. So… just trying to send as much love as I can over there to my old friends and trying to reach out to as many as I could. Let them know I’m thinking about them,” Andrews said.
Andrews, who came to Rockford in 2018, was meeting with a parent Tuesday afternoon when his phone began pinging calls and messages.
“This hit even harder because a couple if the fatalities were student athletes,” Andrews told News 8.
The community, Andrews said, is much like Rockford.
“Good athletes. Good kids. Good families. Blue collar, hardworking community. Just so many great people over there. Great community,” Andrews said.
So far, it appears none of Andrews’ friends or former coworkers were physically injured in the attack. The emotional impact is another story. But Andrews believes his former home will move forward.
“They’ll rally together and find a way to get through this, one way or another,” Andrews said.
*Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the years Andrews worked in Oxford. We regret the error, which has been fixed.