They Hid in the School Bathroom. Then the Shooter Entered

Keegan Gregory faced death and survived
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2022 9:09 AM CST
They Hid in the School Bathroom. Then the Shooter Entered
Students hug at a memorial at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., Dec. 1, 2021. Authorities say a 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at Oxford High School, killing four students and wounding seven other people.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

If you find yourself growing numb to the stories of school shootings, Michael Rosenberg's deep dive into the Oxford High School shooting for Sports Illustrated will give you a jolt. He focuses on a victim who wasn't shot, but who was deeply, deeply wounded: then-freshman Keegan Gregory. The Michigan teen was in a single-stall bathroom when he heard the first gunshots; a senior, Justin Shilling was in the bathroom, too. As Rosenberg writes, Justin instructed Keegan to crouch on the toilet so his feet couldn't be seen on the floor; Justin ducked behind the partition. The plan was to run when they could. Three minutes later, the bathroom door opened. The shooter entered. It would be nearly four minutes before he acted, shooting Justin dead. Keegan was told to turn and face the wall. Instead, he decided to run. He made it out—alive, but like "absolute stone" says his father.

Rosenberg's recounting of what has happened in the following 11 months is wildly detailed: everything from the family's battle with the school district to Keegan's deep trauma. He couldn't return to school. He saw two therapists. A Christmas trip to Nashville to see the Titans play and then to Saint Martin was a bust; fireworks at the stadium and armed guards there panicked Keegan and the family left in the game's first minutes. Keegan's inability to exit a plane if something went wrong forced the beach trip to be canceled, too. He couldn't sleep. His mom once came home and the sound of someone entering the house caused him to rush out another door. He called his parents to say there was an intruder and he had escaped. The trauma is palpable, but so is the sort of salvation that physical activity—diving and weightlifting—has brought him. (We encourage you to read the full story.)

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