Oxford High School shooting victims' attorney alleges armed guard thought shooting was a drill: 'Good makeup'

The guard allegedly thought the school was using 'good makeup' during a shooting she believed to be a drill

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An attorney representing victims of the Nov. 30, 2021, Oxford High School shooting in Michigan that left four students dead and seven injured revealed on Wednesday that an armed security guard employed by the school district allegedly thought the shooting was a drill with "good makeup."

"What we now know is this. When the shots rang out at 12:51…Ms. Potts walked down the hallway, where, ultimately, she found Tate Myre," Johnson said during a Wednesday press conference. "… Tate had already been shot. He was on the ground. Ms. Potts told the investigators that when she looked at Tate, she thought, ‘Boy, this ALICE drill — they’re really using good makeup." 

Oxford Community School District security guard Kimberly Potts, a 20-year veteran of Oakland County law enforcement, allegedly thought the shooting was an ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) drill even after she saw the body of deceased 16-year-old Myre.

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Attorney Ven Johnson, who is representing the parents of six minors who were either killed or severely injured in the shooting, named Potts as a new defendant in his amended complaint after recently obtaining and watching security footage of the shooting.

The Nov. 30, 2021, shooting at Oxford High School left four people dead and seven others injured.

The Nov. 30, 2021, shooting at Oxford High School left four people dead and seven others injured. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

After coming across Myers' body, Potts then allegedly entered a bathroom where two victims were hiding from then-15-year-old shooting suspect Ethan Crumbely. It then "dawned on" Potts that the shooting drill was in fact a real shooting, Johnson claimed.

But before Crumbely allegedly shot Justin Shilling, 16, to death in the bathroom and Keegan Gregory, 15, ran out for help, Potts had already closed the door and turned down the hallway.

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"She had her gun in her hand, so she knew. She told investigators that she didn't even look in the bathroom — didn't know why she opened the door, really," Johnson alleged.

Schilling's mother shared the following statement: "Although there's nothing more important to me than seeking justice for Justin, these latest developments are extremely difficult to process and heartbreakingly unbearable to accept. The only comfort we have is knowing that finally, after eight agonizing months, the truth is finally coming to light."

The four deceased victims of the Nov. 30, 2021, shooting at Oxford High School are 16-year-old Justin Shilling, 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana and 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin.

The four deceased victims of the Nov. 30, 2021, shooting at Oxford High School are 16-year-old Justin Shilling, 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana and 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin. (Oakland County Sheriff's Office)

Gregory's mother described the video as a "punch to the gut."

"My husband and I… went to see the video, and when we sat there, it was an absolute punch to the gut. Seeing her open the door. We looked at each other, and we have not been the same since," she said. "It just truly shattered us knowing that Justin was still alive. We knew that because we compared the time on there to the text messages from our child, and just knowing that she literally opened the door and started to walk in… it is truly just a punch to the gut."

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The four deceased victims of the shooting are Shilling, Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana and 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin.

Johnson added that his team is trying now to determine what Potts "did for the next four minutes" as Crumbley went on a deadly rampage inside the school.

"The one thing that we can certainly all agree on is that she did not run and find Ethan Crumbley in the hallway," Johnson continued, adding later that about a minute passed between the time the first shots were fired and the time Potts closed the door to the bathroom in which Crumbley shot Shilling.

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Police eventually caught Crumbley inside the school and arrested him on the spot.

Johnson's complaints were filed on behalf of the parents of six Oxford High School students, including Shilling, Myer, Gregory, survivors Sophia and Grace Kempen, and survivor Ashlynne Sutton. Plaintiffs are accusing Ethan Crumbley; his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley; and school staff of negligence and other crimes after Johnson subpoenaed the Oakland County Sheriff's Office and Oxford Community school district for those materials.

In May, law enforcement officers in Uvalde, Texas, came under fire after a slow response to a shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 21 dead, including 19 students and two teachers.