NewsOxford School Shooting


1 year later: Honoring the lives lost and forever changed in Oxford

'I just don't want anyone to forget Tate, Justin, Madisyn, Hana.'
Posted: 6:26 AM, Nov 30, 2022
Updated: 2022-11-30 22:53:38-05

One year ago today, on Nov. 30, 2021, our community lost four students to a senseless act of gun violence.

Tate Myre, 16, Hana St. Juliana, 14, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17, were at the beginning of their lives when they were murdered at their high school. Seven others, including a teacher, were injured – while many more continue to grapple with the emotional aftereffects of that day.

The community plans to “Light Up Oxford With Love" tonight. Residents and business owners are being invited to light luminaries at 7 p.m. throughout the city.

Today we honor the students we lost too soon and reflect on the lives that have been forever changed.

Tate Myre

Tate is described as a great young man who was beloved by all.

The 16-year-old made the varsity football team his freshman year and was an honor student at Oxford High School.

The Oxford Football team wrote shortly after his death, “Tate was a wonderful young man who was tremendously hardworking and respectful. He was a tremendous football player with the brightest of futures and was an even better young man off the field as he was on it. We all loved Tate and he will so very much be missed."

Buck Myre, Tate’s father, said Tate loved to mentor students and it’s why he has launched a foundation in Tate’s honor called 42 Strong. 42 was Tate’s football number.

"Tate was a very powerful mentor and that's why we started this foundation," said Buck. "We think it's a game changer in our world."

On the foundation’s website, there’s a list of “Tate’s Traits,” encouraging others to reach for them every day:

-Hard Worker

Tate’s family launched the peer-to-peer mentoring foundation to help students thrive.

“We want to reach everybody that we can,” said Buck during a press conference earlier this year. “Unfortunately this shooter was raising his hand and people refused to see that.”

Buck described Tate as a special kid, saying “he was wise beyond his years.” He said Tate loved Christmas and enjoyed spending time at home with his family.

After his death, Buck said they are trying to find a way to get through the grief together.

“We miss him so much,” said Buck.

Through the 42 Foundation, Tate's family hopes to have his legacy live on through helping others.

"I just don't want anyone to forget Tate, Justin, Madisyn, Hana ... keep those memories and just be kind,"said Tate's mother, Sheri.

Hana St. Juliana

"She was kind and genuine to her core," said Jennifer Curtis, a close friend of Hana's family.

Those who were close to her describe Hana St. Juliana as a shy girl from Ortonville who enjoyed traditions with family and friends that involved communal experiences around food.

"Hana was part of our family," said Jennifer shortly after the tragedy.

"She loved to babysit and to be with kids. She loved to help people. She was just one of the best kids I've ever known," Jennifer told 7 Action News.

Hana’s family recently announced plans to build Hana’s Garden. The garden, which will be created at Seymour Lake Township Park in Oxford, will honor the teens who were killed on Nov. 30.

“The purpose of Hana’s Garden is to have a place for the community to remember the four students lost. We don’t want them or what happened to them to be forgotten,” said Steve St. Juliana, Hana’s father, in a statement.

This garden will be the first project stemming from the Hana St. Juliana Memorial Fund meant to celebrate the lives of the Oxford High School shooting victims and help prevent similar tragedies.

To donate to the fund, click here.You can also donate by heading here, selecting ‘Field of Interest Funds’ and then ‘Hana St. Juliana Memorial.’

Madisyn Baldwin

"I've said since day one that I've learned more from her in 17 years than I have in a lifetime," Madisyn's mom, Nicole Beausoleil, said.

Madisyn's baby brother, Liam, is 7 years old and has autism.

"I never knew patience until Madisyn. When Liam came, I was all over the place," Nicole said. "She was always the calm to the storm."She was like a second mom to him. She understood him, she got him," Nicole added.

As for Madisyn's legacy, it lives on in so many tributes – a tree and mural in her memory, and more than $10,000 raised for Autism Speaks for children with special needs, like her brother.

"I miss her dearly and I would only hope that I am making her proud," she said.

Tarah Baldwin is Madisyn’s aunt. She described her as “the light of so many people."

Madisyn was a senior and she had just transferred to the school the year of the shooting.

Tarah says Madisyn was fun-loving and that everyone was excited when the 17-year-old walked into the room.

“Madisyn is a beautiful person who is perfect in every way," Tarah described.

"Very artsy, very smart, very intelligent, who was going very far in this world," she added.

Madeline Johnson, Madisyn’s best friend, said “Madisyn Baldwin was intelligent, caring and creative. She loved animals, and she was the best friend I've ever had.

Justin Shilling

“He lived in a way that was really truly by the golden rule: do unto others as you'll have them do unto you. He never missed an opportunity to lift someone up," said Jill Soave, Justin Shilling's mother.

Justin's mom says it doesn't cost a dime to be kind to people like her son.

"He was purely a giver," said Jill.

"Every time I saw Justin, he always found a way to make me smile, make me laugh and I think that’s a really powerful skill not a lot of people have,” said Red Knapps owner Matt Kirschner.

Justin worked at the staple in downtown Rochester before he was tragically killed in the Oxford High School shooting.

“Every night, and I'm not joking, every night that he was here, I would have his guests pull me aside and tell me how amazing of a job he did, how great he was with their kids,” said Kirschner.

It’s a skill he brought everywhere, including to the Oxford bowling team. His coach, JR Lafnear, described him as the light that lifted everyone up.

“Justin can brighten a dark room and he can take your frown and turn it upside down," Lafnear said. "He’s just that kid that makes you smile every time you see him.”

Even after his death, Justin continued to share his gifts. Justin gave the gift of life by donating his organs. His mother says he was able to help six people by his gift of two heart valves, his liver, kidneys, lungs and even tissue.

"It's a remarkable feeling just knowing that he lives on and there's donor families that are beyond grateful," said Jill.

For years to come, his light will continue to shine and somewhere, that bright smile will continue to spread.

“Just a special kid that was taken way too soon,” Lafnear said.

Justin’s family also described him as a teen who was beloved by many in his school and throughout the 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."

Lives Forever Changed

Aiden Watson was one of the seven injured on Nov. 30. He was a 15-year-old going about his school day when the shooting started and he was shot in the leg.

He spoke to 7 Action News after a recent court hearing and said it’s all a lot to comprehend.

"My leg hurts all the time, I just have to deal with it. It’s something that happens every day, and it’s something that’s just a part of my life now," he said.

Despite everything, Aiden said he tries to remain positive.

“I don’t want to let this let me down. I don’t want to let this destroy the rest of my life. I just want to stay positive. I wish things were back to before the 30th,” said Aiden.

"Despite our hurt, we stay hopeful.”

In honor of Crime Victims' Rights Week this past April, student Kylie Ossege sent a powerful message, one of courage and strength through the most painful times.

"For me, November 30 began as any normal day. My name is Kylie Ossege. I’m a survivor of the Oxford High School shooting," she said.

Kylie had never spoken publicly until that day. She was shot in the chest and has a gunshot wound in each shoulder, saying she suffered a broken clavicle, two broken ribs and a spinal cord injury.

“As victims, we grow to be survivors. Though we tire, we continue to try. We are brave, courageous and strong. We endure great stress, pressure and sorrow. We help one another but also know when to ask for help,” said Kylie.

Looking ahead, Kylie is focusing on living for those who’ve been lost and not allowing the cowardly acts of a shooter to define her future.

"Despite our hurt, we stay hopeful. We pray and stay true to our faiths. We trust in a greater plan that gives purpose to each and every student. With this belief, we remain hopeful in a plan that will honor our four angels," she said.

“We’re just a tough community. Nothing can break us."

John Asciutto, a survivor of the Oxford High School shooting, was recognized with the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Courage Award in March.

John described what “Oxford Strong” means to him.

“We’re just a tough community. Nothing can break us," he said.

The motto surfaced following the darkest day in the city’s history. John, who was shot in the back of the leg, did not want to talk about that day.

Instead, he spoke with 7 Action News about his future, his love of varsity football and basketball. John recalled returning to the hardwood to a standing ovation.

“It was a good moment for me. I felt cared for, and I was happy," he said.

The high school senior remembered what it felt like to be cleared to play by his doctor after healing 100% physically.

"It was a really good feeling. I mean, even today, going out and playing it’s just like, it’s crazy and I don’t take it for granted at all,” he explained.

Steve Laidlaw, boys varsity basketball head coach, said John’s nomination is “incredibly well-deserved."

"I don’t think anybody knows the type of trauma and adversity that the entire school but specifically John went through," he said.

“He’s brought his teammates great joy, and peace and hope," Laidlaw said.

No Future Without Today

Madeline Johnson, Madisyn’s best friend, is one of the students behind No Future Without Today, a student-led nonprofit that advocates for the safety of students through gun reform.

She spoke at a rally over the summer.

Gun violence is a public health crisis, but it doesn't have to be anymore. We shouldn't have to beg and rally in protest for our rights to live without fear of being murdered. I can't believe that after all this time, we're still fighting for this. It should have ended long ago, before any of our lives could have been turned upside down by a shooting,” said Madeline.

According to a press release from No Future Without Today, the nonprofit will prioritize: Safe Storage/Child Access Prevention (CAP), Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Red Flag Laws, and Universal Background Checks.

At the summer rally, Madeline described the day the shooting occurred, remembering walking with Madisyn after lunch.

I realized I was going to be late. So instead of walking her all the way to the room, I turned around and said goodbye to her when we reached the end of what we call the 200 hallway. I still remember her smiling and waving at me as she turned the corner that day. It plays in my mind in slow motion over and over again. That was the last time I ever saw her alive,” said Madeline.

She talked about the guilt following her best friend’s death and the emotional distress that comes from surviving the shooting.

“Nothing could have prepared me for how it felt to run for my life,” she said.