The terrified Michigan students seen on viral video jumping out a classroom window amid fears the gunman was impersonating a cop were actually fleeing from a police detective, the sheriff clarified.
“A video was disseminated rather … widely that showed the students in a classroom and depicted someone knocking on the door, and pretty much the allegation was that that was the suspect,” Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said at a news conference Wednesday.
“We’ve now been able to determine that was not the suspect,” he added.
In the clip shot by a student, a male voice can be heard saying tentatively inside Oxford High School during the chaos Tuesday: “Sheriff’s office. It’s safe to come out.”
Several students are immediately skeptical of the supposed authority figure, as one girl is heard whispering, “We don’t know who that is.”
A student standing by the door replies sternly to the voice on the other side of the door, “We’re not taking that risk right now.”
The male voice pleads, “OK, well, just open the door, and look at my eyes, bro” – but his casual language was enough to convince the students he could not be trusted.
“He said, ‘Bro.’ Red flag!” a male student says.
The students then jump out a window and run through the snow to a main entrance of the high school manned by a uniformed cop.
“Slow down. You’re fine,” the officer tells the terrified teens, as the 52-second clip shared to Snapchat, TikTok and Twitter ends.
On Wednesday, Bouchard told reporters that the person heard talking to the students was “more than likely” a plainclothes detective.
“He may have been talking — ‘bro’ — in a conversational manner to try to bring (the students) down from the crisis to say, ‘Come on bro, let’s get out of the classroom, let’s get you outside’ — that kind of comment,” Bouchard said.
“The suspect, we have now confirmed by analyzing all of the video from the time it began to the time we took him into custody, never knocked on the door,” he added.