Michigan community picks up pieces after 'everyone's worst nightmare'

OXFORD, Mich. (CNS) -- A day after a tragic shooting claimed the lives of four Oxford High School students and forever changed the lives of countless others, community members were picking up the pieces.

On a chilly afternoon Dec. 1, the scene at Oxford High remained somber, with patrol cars and news vans dotting the streets and parking lots throughout the usually quiet town.

A few paces from the south entrance to the school, adjacent to the inverted-bowl football stadium, students arrived in small groups, many with tears on their faces, to place teddy bears, flowers, crosses and candles at the foot of the school's main sign.

Downtown, a small army of volunteers tied blue-and-gold ribbons -- Oxford's school colors -- to every lamppost and street sign, as businesses displayed messages of support.

Inside the school, authorities continued to comb through mountains of crime scene evidence. It was just the beginning of an investigation Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said could last weeks, if not months, as deputies and federal agents interview hundreds of witnesses and search for clues about the alleged shooter's motive.

Authorities identified 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, a sophomore at the school, as the suspect. Crumbley was arraigned Dec. 1 and will be tried as an adult on 24 criminal charges, including terrorism and four counts of first-degree murder.