Oxford schools rejects AG, $50 million suit filed against Consumers, kid stable after being shot Sunday

The Oxford Community School District has turned down an offer by the state attorney general to investigate the events leading up to the shooting at the community's high school last week.

Attorney General Dana Nessel said she was "extremely disappointed" by the district's decision, which came days after the superintendent said he planned to request a third-party probe. Instead, according to Nessel, they'll be using a private security firm.

"I offered the services of my department because I thought ‘what better agency to conduct such a review than the Michigan Department of Attorney General and we learned just a short while ago the school district has turned down our offer," said Nessel, speaking on CNN’s Don Lemon Tonight.

"(I'm) disappointed. Obviously we hope the school district cares as much about the safety of their students as they do shielding themselves from civil liability," she added.

The district's request was listed in a long letter released by the district over the weekend that further clarified details and interactions between school officials and Ethan Crumbley on the days and hours leading up to his alleged shooting.

He's since been charged with 24 counts that include murder and terrorism charges.

Despite the district declining the state's offer, Nessel said the AG's office would continue assisting both the county prosecutor and sheriff's investigation. 

She also said Monday night she believed members of the community would make their feelings known about the district not taking up the state's offer.

"Again, if the school district is really looking for transparency, and they're really looking to ensure that everything they did and continue to do results in the most security of their students, I would hope they would want to cooperate with an investigation from the state," said Nessel.

$400 refund checks going to Michigan drivers

Michigan drivers will receive hundreds in refunds after the state's insurance associations agreed to send back about $3 billion of its surplus. The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association will be sending every Michigan driver that had car insurance by Oct. 31, 2021 a refund of $400 dollars. 

The refund follows a request by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer who called on the MCCA to send checks back to drivers after the group registered a projected $5 billion surplus in November. The refunds should be delivered by March 9, 2022.

"Michiganders have paid into the catastrophic care fund for decades, and I am pleased that the MCCA developed this plan so quickly after unanimously approving my request to return surplus funds to the pockets of Michiganders," said Whitmer in a statement.

The refunds are linked to the state's auto insurance reform that was signed into law in 2019, which came into being after decades of drivers in Michigan paying some of the country's highest auto insurance rates. The MCCA is responsible for paying for catastrophic care needs and is headed by members of the insurance industry. The payouts come from a fund that is supplied by surcharges from drivers.

$50M suit filed against Consumers of Flint home explosion

The family of a woman that was killed in a home explosion in Flint that left one other dead and damaged several nearby homes have sued a Michigan utility company, alleging negligence contributed to a gas leak that ignited and blew up the structure.

Geoffrey Fieger is representing the family of Lisa Rochowiak, who is arguing Consumers Energy could have prevented the explosion. "Consumers knows very well that the gas leaked outside of the home," he said. "Consumers knows very well, that they were called on numerous occasions…"

Consumers released a statement that said they did a field evaluation of equipment, facilities, and service, and determined there were "no issues" relating to natural gas lines. "Consumers Energy has no record of being notified of a gas leak in the home or any related issue prior to the incident. We believe the allegations in the lawsuit are inaccurate and that the legal claims are without merit."

Family of the other victim in the case, a toddler named NuVeah Lucas, declined to comment. However, Feiger believes it's possible the case could turn into a class action lawsuit against Consumers due to the number of property owners that had damage. 

4-year-old recovering after gun wound Sunday

A manhunt is underway in Detroit after a 4-year-old was shot Sunday night as she was lying on the couch. She's currently in stable condition while the suspect remains at large. "I heard it from the basement it was just really loud, like really loud shots. like a whole bunch of them, ringing," said a neighbor. "And once we heard the screaming, that was that.

The neighbor recalls the moment a Detroit mom learned her four-year-old daughter had been shot inside their home. It happened on the 16500 block of Woodingham on the city’s west side Sunday night. The little girl, severely injured. "Preliminarily, the bullet went through her and shattered her elbow," said 2nd Deputy Chief Rudy Harper, Detroit police. 

Police say it appears the gunman fired at both the first and second floors of the house from behind a tree on Woodingham. A motive is unknown.

Despite police saying there have been fewer homicides and non-fatal shootings in 2021, a jarring number of victims involved in gun violence have been children. Some 57 kids ages 16 and under have been wounded by gunfire, and five have died.  

Oxford schools will resume classes amid ‘soft opening’

Time seemed to stand still on Tuesday, Nov. 30 when a shooter opened up inside the hallways of Oxford High School. Four students were were killed, seven others were hurt, and hundreds of lives were changed forever.

In the six days since that terrible tragedy, the town has began to pick up the pieces as best as they can, by picking each other up. Life, after all, must move forward in some way and Oxford Community Schools announced its plan to return students and educators to the classroom. The district will start with a 'soft opening' which includes grief counseling, meals for families, and trauma response training for teachers.

"We have to have those difficult challenging conversations. Are they have trouble sleeping? Are they having trouble eating? Really to check in with them individually to see where they are," Dr. Sabrina Jackson, a clinical therapist said.

The district will start by having kindergarten through 8th grade students back in class next Monday, Dec. 13. A date for high school students was not set.

What else we're watching

  1. A simple stretch of road on I-75 is getting a second look as playing a central role in dangerous driving conditions for vehicles during wet weather. A court complaint has accused MDOT of being negligent in its construction of a southbound stretch of the highway. 
  2. The victims of the Oxford shooting were honored at a Clarkston vigil, at the American Legion Post 377 where donations were made to the memorial funds of Tate Myre, Madisyn Baldwin, Hana St. Juliana, and Justin Shilling.
  3. Law enforcement say they conducted a search warrant at the home of Andrzej Sikora, seizing several digital devices to examine if the Oakland County man played a role in hiding the Crumbley parents during their man hunt last week. They'll present information to prosecutors for a charging decision.
  4. The Wayne County sheriff's office has arrested a contracted jail employee after she allegedly smuggled and sold drugs to inmates in one of their facilities. Officials will hold a press conference on the matter Tuesday.
  5. Oak Park High School will be virtual Tuesday after a post threatening violence was discovered online. A police report has been filed, and an investigation is under way. 

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Daily Forecast

It's going to be a cold one Tuesday, with temperatures never escaping the 20s as Michigan settles into freezing conditions for the day. Some snow showers may arrive later tonight, but it won't be anything major. Temperatures will begin their gradual climb into the weekend, however.

Man who claims he invented Bitcoin wins trial over $50B cryptocurrency dispute

Craig Wright, a computer scientist who claims to be the inventor of Bitcoin, prevailed in a civil trial verdict Monday against the family of a deceased business partner that claimed it was owed half of a cryptocurrency fortune worth tens of billions.

A Florida jury found that Wright did not owe half of 1.1 million Bitcoin to the family of David Kleiman. The jury did award $100 million in intellectual property rights to a joint venture between the two men, a fraction of what Kleiman's lawyers were asking for at trial.

"This was a tremendous victory for our side," said Andres Rivero of Rivero Mestre LLP, the lead lawyer representing Wright.

David Kleiman died in April 2013 at the age of 46. Led by his brother Ira Kleiman, his family has claimed David Kleiman and Wright were close friends and co-created Bitcoin through a partnership.

At the center of the trial were 1.1 million Bitcoin, worth approximately $50 billion based on Monday’s prices. These were among the first Bitcoin to be created through mining and could only be owned by a person or entity involved with the digital currency from its beginning — such as Bitcoin's creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.