"These are beautiful children’s lives": Family of teen killed in Oxford school shooting releases statement


(WWJ) As residents of Oxford, metro Detroit and all of Michigan mourn the loss of four young people in Tuesday's school shooting, the families of the victims are top-of-mind for many

While most are not speaking publicly and asking for privacy, the family of 17-year-old Justin Shilling, an Oxford senior who died of his wounds in the hospital on Wednesday, reached out with a statement on Friday.

Justin Shilling family statement
Justin Shilling - Photo credit Via GoFund Me: https://www.gofundme.com/f/justin-shilling-memorial-fund?qid=21f7b10066fda2cef285d48182e14e9e

A one-page letter titled "From the Family of Justin Shilling" reads as follows:

"As the community we have loved and lived in reels from this tragedy we as a family have to mourn the loss of our son. Justin Charles who was so dear to our hearts was at the same time beloved of so many people in his school and his community. He was a Grandson, a brother, a cousin, a classmate, and without hesitation, a friend. The loss of Justin leaves such a gaping hole in our family that we cannot conceive of life without him.

"Our hearts are broken and yet still go out to the other families suffering this very same loss at this very same moment and which is beyond imagination, nothing any family should have to endure.

"As a family we would like to appeal to the public to keep the importance of what has been lost here in the forefront of our minds and the news. These are beautiful children’s lives, full of potential and with the expectation of so much more to come. Justin was a scholar, part of Oxford School Districts Baccalaureate program and a university scholarship awardee.

"He was a tireless worker with three jobs that he juggled along with his studies. He was lettered athlete and had bowled on the Oxford High School bowling team. His potential was boundless in life and yet in death he continues to give of himself as an organ doner. We feel the world can’t have too much of Justin.

"In closing we would just like to send our most sincere condolences to all the families involved in this tragedy and can say assuredly that we DO know your pain. And to the community thank you all for the out pouring of love and prayers. We can never express the gratitude we have in our hearts."

Shilling was one of four Oxford students slain during Tuesday's tragic incident, during which seven more students and a teacher were wounded.

A GoFundMe for a memorial to "honor the memory of this wonderful young man," posted by the teen's uncle, has raised more than $82,000. (To learn more or to donate, go HERE).

Alleged shooter Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old sophomore at the school, and his parents all face criminal charges in the case.

Ethan Crumbley is charged with terrorism and four counts of first degree murder, along with multiple attempted murder and felony firearm counts. Just announced Friday, James and Jennifer Crumbley face four counts each of involuntary manslaughter.

The victims' families have asked for privacy during this difficult time.