By: Simon Shaykhet
(WXYZ) — Nearly six months after the deadly shooting at Oxford High School, the parents of one of the students who was killed has broken their silence and filed a new federal lawsuit.
Justin Shilling was one of four students killed in the shooting on Nov. 30. On Monday, attorney Ven Johnson blasted Oxford school employees in the lawsuit. At the heart of the claim, they allege a suicide prevention policy was ignored.
Johnson said gross negligence on the part of Oxford High School employees disqualifies them from being protected by governmental immunity.
He said the school suicide prevention program, obtained by his office, spelled out an official response required but ignored prior to the shooting.
“They gave him the backpack without searching, with the gun, ammunition and manifesto,” he said.
At the press conference, Johnson got specific about the second lawsuit, claiming school employees failed to follow mandatory state guidelines for calling 911 and Child Protective Services to report the accused shooter’s behavior.
He went on to say they failed to check the suspect’s property for weapons, and instead, sent him back to class after finding alarming notes depicting murder.
“By following the first step of this policy, that alone could could have prevented this mass murder,” Johnson said.
Justin’s parents, Jill Soave and Craig Shilling, acknowledged the loss of an incredibly young man. Their 17-year-old son was known for possessing wonderful qualities with a bright future ahead.
They also shared their frustration with the alleged lack of accountability on the part of the school district.
“Our son Justin was such a dynamic child. He was funny, handsome, smart, loving, classy and kind,” Soave said.
“You only wish they’ll have what you did when you graduated. Fun times with friends and parties, but he won’t get that,” Craig said.
This story was originally published May 23, 2022 by WXYZ in Detroit, an E.W. Scripps Company.