- An Oxford High School cop didn't respond correctly to a shooting in November, a lawyer said.
- Kimberly Potts, the officer, opened the door to the bathroom just before a student inside was shot.
- She also passed a student who had been shot and thought he was wearing "makeup" as part of a drill.
A school security officer walked past Oxford High School student Tate Myre, laying on the ground with a gunshot wound, and at first thought he was wearing "good makeup" as part of a shooting drill, the attorney representing Myre's parents and other families said Wednesday.
Four students were killed in the November 30, 2021 shooting when a 15-year-old student brought a semiautomatic handgun into the school. Ven Johnson, who is representing seven families impacted by the shooting in a civil lawsuit, said he was able to view security footage from the shooting provided to him by prosecutors that showed the response of school security officer Kimberly Potts.
The new scrutiny over Potts' response joins the nationwide outcry over shootings at schools such as Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, and Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. Law enforcement officials at both schools have been heavily criticized for not confronting shooters in a timlier manner.
"It's getting more and more frustrating by the day," Buck Myre, Tate's dad, said in a press conference Wednesday.
Johnson told Insider the video shows Potts passing Tate Myre on the ground, covered in blood, as she approaches a bathroom. A police officer later tried to rush him to the hospital in a squad car, but he died en route, the Detriot Free Press reported.
Inside the bathroom were the shooting suspect and students Justin Shilling and Keegan Gregory. Potts opened the door with her gun drawn, then walked away, Johnson said.
The security footage did not capture what was happening inside the bathroom at that moment, and Potts' bodycam was turned off, Johnson said. But "anybody would have seen three young men in that bathroom," he said.
Justin Shilling was shot to death in the bathroom just minutes later, Johnson said.
"It's difficult to know that he could still be here if somebody did their job," Craig Shilling, Justin Shilling's dad, said during the press conference.
According to Johnson, Potts told investigators she initially thought the shooting was an Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate (ALICE) drill, not a real threat. It was after she had already walked away from Myre that she realized it might have been the real thing, Johnson said Potts told prosecutors.
"I do not believe that if there was an ALICE drill that the security person, who walks the hallways with a gun, a loaded gun, in their hand wouldn't be told ahead of time so they knew it wasn't real," Johnson said in an interview with Insider.
Johnson estimated it was less than two minutes after Potts walked away from the door that Justin Shilling was shot and Keegan Gregory, who witnessed the shooting, ran out. He said she had "absolutely more than ample time," to have stopped the shooting suspect from killing Justin Shilling.
"It was an absolute punch to the gut, seeing her open the door," Keegan Gregory's mom, Meghan Gregory, said during a press conference Wednesday.
Johnson filed a motion to add Potts to the lawsuit that already includes the school district, some teachers and counselors as well as the shooting suspect and his parents. Warning signs, including a teacher who reported that the shooting suspect was looking up ammo during class and concerning drawings, were reported to his parents, but he ultimately stayed in school.
Although Potts hasn't been officially added yet, Johnson said he's almost certain the judge will allow it.
In a statement to Insider, Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Ken Weaver said he's "confident" investigation into the shooting will show "staff response reduced additional harm and loss of life."
"On that day, students and staff acted swiftly in accordance with their prior training and several staff members exhibited heroic courage," Weaver said in the statement.
According to her LinkedIn, Potts served as a deputy sheriff for 28 years before retiring and taking a job in school security in 2019. She worked at Oxford High school from 2019 to June 2022 and her profile says she's "looking for a security job in the schools" for the upcoming school year.
Potts didn't immediately reply to messages from Insider.
The shooting suspect was charged with 24 felony counts and his parents were charged with involuntary manslaughter.