Oxford community commemorates 2-year mark of school shooting by honoring victims

For Oxford High School students, Nov. 30 is now known as Wildcat Remembrance Day – as four students were killed in a school shooting two years ago.

Hana St. Juliana, 14, Tate Myre, 16, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17 are being remembered and honored on this day. 

The then-15-year-old boy injured seven other victims, including a teacher, on Nov. 30, 2021.

"There’s daily reminders and there's times when it’s tougher than others, but today you reflect in your own way," said J.R. Lafnear, the head coach of bowling at Oxford and . "Some people are going to have a bad day and be by themselves, other people want to be around others and have fun and just honor the memory of the four lost souls."

Community members are holding each other up, showing Oxford students love and support – with local businesses putting up "Oxford Strong" signs and offering free goodies and activities.

"Without the community and the brotherhood of everybody pulling together, it would’ve been much worse," Lafnear said. "We’re not out of the woods yet, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel."

One of the victims, Justin Shilling, was on the bowling team – so businesses like Collier Lanes hosted free bowling for anyone in the community, creating a safe space. 

About a mile away, The Magic Brownie Box handed out free treats to students, including brownies, chocolate covered ores and marshmellows, mini pies, and more. Positivity and healing are the themes on Oxford's remembrance day. 

"We are not only giving them something sweet to look forward to, but on a day of remembrance, we’re spreading love," said Heather Leaping with The Magic Brownie Box.

Attorney Ven Johnson represents several victims of the shooting.

"Just sending these folks our love and support. It’s been incredible, overwhelming, for a lot of our clients, and they really appreciate it," Johnson said. "It’s one of the reasons they’re able to wake up most days, put their feet on the floor and take one step at a time."

Johnson said the family’s civil and criminal lawsuits have been appealed, including the lower court's ruling. Victims and their families are still searching for accountability.

"Until each and every person or entity is held responsible for the mistakes that were made that day, we’re not truly ever dealing with our past or learning from our past," he said.

Johnson's sentiment was echoed by Emily Busch, a local parent advocating for better mental health services and gun reform.

"We need to see more accessible, trauma-informed healthcare for students, kids, and adults," Busch said. "Absolutely, would like to see more done from a federal level on making sure that we don’t have firearms in the hands of people that shouldn’t have them."


Oxford students walk out, protesting district 2 years after school shooting

Oxford High School students walked out of their classes and held a rally on Tuesday to demand action – as they still feel unheard two years after the deadly school shooting.

The small community of Oxford is still healing from the tragedy.

"Once we get through all the trials and all the other stuff – I think we can really finalize the healing process," Lafnear said.