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Prosecutor Considers Charging Parents of Suspect in Oxford High School Shooting

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Law enforcement officials said the teenage suspect used his father’s gun to carry out the shooting that left four dead and seven others injured.


Charges Filed, More May Come

The Michigan prosecutor overseeing the investigation into the Oxford High School shooting said Wednesday that she may file charges against the parents of the suspected teenage gunman — a decision that would be highly unusual.

Law enforcement officials said the 15-year-old suspect used his father’s gun in the Tuesday attack, which left four students dead and seven others injured in the deadliest school shooting this year.

The teen, who was a student at the high school, was later arrested and charged as an adult for two dozen crimes, including first-degree murder, attempted murder, and one count of terrorism. He has pleaded not guilty on all charges.

Authorities have not yet identified a motive but said Wednesday that there was a “mountain” of evidence showing the suspect’s desires and plans to kill students at his school.

Officials recovered two cellphone videos the student had made the night before the shooting in which he talked about killing his classmates at the high school the next day. They also recovered a journal from the teen’s backpack where he wrote about his desire to “shoot up” the school.

A review of the suspect’s social media accounts also showed that he had access to a firearm. Some posts even showed him with the same type of gun as the murder weapon, a SIG Sauer 9mm.

While law enforcement authorities did not mention any specific posts, a screenshot from the teenager’s now-deleted Instagram that has been widely circulated includes a picture he posted on Friday of a hand holding a gun with the caption, “Just got my new beauty today. SIG SAUER 9mm. Ask any questions I will answer.”

Officials have confirmed that the suspect’s father bought the gun used in the shooting four days earlier, though they have not said how he got the gun or whether it was secured in the family’s home prior to the incident.

In her remarks regarding possible charges for the boy’s parents on Wednesday, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald argued that gun owners have a responsibility to ensure their weapons are secured, especially in households with young people.

“Those who do not do that should and will be held accountable, we have to do better,” she said, adding that she expects more charges to be filed against the suspect as well.

According to The Washington Post, adult gun owners “are almost never held accountable when children use their weapons to harm themselves or others.”

That’s despite the fact that if children as young as 6 did not have access to guns, well more than half of the country’s school shootings since 1999 would never have happened,” the outlet reported.

More Details Emerge

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told CNN Thursday that two teachers separately reported concerning behavior from the student in the days before the attack, which prompted two meetings with school administrators.

According to the sheriff, the first report came the day before the shooting when “a teacher in the classroom where he was a student saw and heard something that she felt was disturbing.” 

“They had a counseling session about it with school officials, and a phone call was left with the parents,” he added.

The second incident occurred on Tuesday, shortly before the attack, and school officials called in the boy’s parents for a meeting.

“A different teacher in a different classroom saw some behavior that they felt was concerning, and they brought the child down to an office, had a meeting with school officials, called in the parents, and ultimately it was determined that he could go back into class,” Bouchard continued, though he declined to provide more details about the behavior the suspect displayed.

A probable cause hearing for the charges against the teen has been scheduled for Dec. 13, and a preliminary examination hearing has been set for Dec. 20.

Editor’s Note: At Rogue Rocket, we make it a point to not include the names and pictures of mass murders or suspected mass murderers who may have been seeking attention or infamy. Therefore, we will not be linking to other news coverage, as they may contain these details.

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Medical Workers Sign Letter Urging Spotify to Combat Misinformation, Citing Joe Rogan

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The letter accused Spotify of “enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research.”


Doctors and Medical Professionals Sign Letter to Spotify

A group of 270 doctors, scientists, and other medical workers signed an open letter to Spotify this week urging the audio platform to implement a misinformation policy, specifically citing false claims made on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast. 

Rogan has faced no shortage of backlash over the last year for promoting vaccine misinformation on his show, which airs exclusively on Spotify. Most recently, he invited Dr. Robert Malone on a Dec. 31 episode that has since been widely criticized by health experts. 

Dr. Malone was banned from Twitter for promoting COVID-19 misinformation. According to the medical experts who signed the letter, he “used the JRE platform to further promote numerous baseless claims, including several falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and an unfounded theory that societal leaders have ‘hypnotized’ the public.”

“Notably, Dr. Malone is one of two recent JRE guests who has compared pandemic policies to the Holocaust,” the letter continued. “These actions are not only objectionable and offensive, but also medically and culturally dangerous.”

Joe Rogan’s History of COVID-19 Misinformation

Rogan sparked swift criticism himself in the spring of 2021 when he discouraged young people from taking the COVID-19 vaccine. He also falsely equated mRNA vaccines to “gene therapy” and incorrectly stated that vaccines cause super mutations of the virus. He took ivermectin after testing positive for the virus in September, despite the fact that the drug is not approved as a treatment for COVID.

“By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals,” the doctors and medical workers wrote. 

“We are calling on Spotify to take action against the mass-misinformation events which continue to occur on its platform,” they continued. “With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence. Though Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, the company presently has no misinformation policy.”

Rolling Stone was the first outlet to report on the letter from the medical professionals. Dr. Katrine Wallace, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois Chicago, was among the signees. She told the magazine that Rogan is “a menace to public health.”

“These are fringe ideas not backed in science, and having it on a huge platform makes it seem there are two sides to this issue,” she said. “And there are really not.”

Spotify had not responded to the letter as of Thursday.

See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Deadline) (Insider)

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Data Shows Omicron May be Peaking in the U.S.

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In some cities that were first hit by the surge, new cases are starting to flatten and decline.


New Cases Flattening

After weeks of recording-breaking cases driven by the highly infectious omicron variant, public health officials say that new COVID infections seem to be slowing in the parts of the country that were hit the hardest earlier on.

Following a more than twentyfold rise in December, cases in New York City have flattened out in recent days. 

New infections have even begun to fall slightly in some states, like Maryland and New Jersey. In Boston, the levels of COVID in wastewater — which has been a top indicator of case trends in the past — have dropped by nearly 40% since the first of the year.

Overall, federal data has shown a steep decline in COVID-related emergency room visits in the Northeast, and the rest of the country appears to be following a similar track.

Data from other countries signals the potential for a steep decline in cases following the swift and unprecedented surge.

According to figures from South Africa, where the variant was first detected, cases rose at an incredibly shocking rate for about a month but peaked quickly in mid-December. Since then, new infections have plummeted by around 70%.

In the U.K., which has typically been a map for how U.S. cases will trend, infections are also beginning to fall after peaking around New Year’s and then flattening for about a week.

Concerns Remain 

Despite these recent trends, experts say it is still too early to say if cases in the U.S. will decline as rapidly as they did in South Africa and the parts of the U.K. that were first hit. 

While new infections may seem to be peaking in the cities that saw the first surges, caseloads continue to climb in most parts of the country. 

Meanwhile, hospitals are overwhelmed and health resources are still strained because of the high volume of cases hitting all at once.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Washington Post) (The Wall Street Journal)

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COVID-Driven School Closures Top Record Highs, But Many Remain Open

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While some districts have implemented protective measures, many teachers say they fall short.


Schools Respond to Omicron Surge

U.S. COVID cases, driven by the omicron variant, are continuously topping new record highs, posing difficult questions for schools resuming after winter break.

According to Burbio, a data firm that tracks school closures, at least 5,409 public schools canceled classes or moved to remote learning by the end of last week due to COVID — more than triple the number at the end of December.

That is still only a fraction of the nation’s 130,000 schools, and many of the biggest school districts in the country are still insisting that students come into the classroom.

Los Angeles, which is home to the second-biggest district, is requiring that students at least test negative before they return to school this week.

In the biggest district of New York City, classes have already resumed following winter break. Although the city has said it will double random tests and send home more kits, students were not required to provide negative results.

Teachers Protest In-Person Learning

Teachers in other major districts have protested the local government’s decisions to stay open.

One of the most closely watched battles is in Chicago, where students on Monday missed their fourth consecutive day of school due to a feud between the Chicago Teachers Union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D).

Last week, the union voted to return to remote learning in defiance of a city-wide order mandating they teach in-person, citing inadequate COVID-19 protections. Lightfoot claimed the conditions were fine and that students were safe, despite record surges, instead opting to cancel classes altogether while the fight plays out.

On Sunday, the union said it was “still far apart” from making any kind of agreement with public school officials after Lightfoot rejected their demands.

Lightfoot, for her part, has said she remains “hopeful” a deal could be reached, but she also stirred up the union by accusing teachers of staging an “illegal walkout” and claiming they “abandoned their posts and they abandoned kids and their families.”

Meanwhile, teachers in other school districts have begun to emulate the tactics in Chicago.

On Friday, teachers in Oakland, California staged a “sick-out,” promoting 12 schools serving thousands of students to close.

See what others are saying: (The Chicago Tribune) (CNN) (The New York Times)

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