Teen says she ‘just prayed’ while saving girl in Michigan school shooting

Jul 27, 2023, 10:14 PM | Updated: Jul 28, 2023, 3:26 pm

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A teenager recalled Friday how she helped save a girl who was severely wounded during a Michigan school shooting in 2021, telling a judge that she moved her to an empty classroom, applied pressure to stop the bleeding and prayed with her.

“I asked her if she knew who God was. She said, ‘Not really,’” Heidi Allen, 17, recalled.

“I think I’m supposed to be here right now,” she said, describing how she felt at the time. “Because there’s no other reason that I’m OK, that I’m in this hallway, completely untouched.”

Heidi testified at a hearing to determine whether Ethan Crumbley, 17, will get a life prison sentence, or a shorter term with an opportunity for parole, for killing four students and wounding seven other people at Oxford High School.

She said she recognized him as soon as he exited a bathroom and brandished a gun.

“It fired,” Heidi recalled. “Everything kind of slowed down for me. It was all slow motion. I had covered my head. I dropped down. … It sounded like a balloon popping or a locker slamming. It was very loud.

“I just prayed and covered my head,” she said. “I didn’t know if those were my last moments.”

Heidi wasn’t shot but others were. She said she took a girl into a classroom, installed a portable lock on the door and applied pressure to the girl’s wounds. The victim survived.

“I just kept reassuring her she was going to be OK. She was crying,” Heidi testified. “I don’t fully remember what she was saying. I was trying to stay calm.”

The shooter, who was 15 at the time, pleaded guilty to murder, terrorism and other crimes. But a life sentence for minors isn’t automatic after a series of decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court and Michigan’s top court.

Defense attorneys are arguing that he can be rehabilitated in prison and eventually released. They said the shooting followed years of a turbulent family life, grossly negligent parents and untreated mental illness.

A former warden, Ken Romanowski, testified about a variety of programs available in prison, such as mental health therapy, anger management, education and trade skills.

“Honestly, I think everybody has the potential for change. But he has to be the one who makes that choice,” Romanowski said, appearing for the defense.

A psychiatrist, Dr. Fariha Qadir, said Crumbley discussed having depression, hallucinations and hearing voices when they first met after his arrest. She has talked to him more than 100 times while in jail and prescribed medication for depression, mood and sleep.

James and Jennifer Crumbley are separately charged with involuntary manslaughter. They’re accused of buying a gun for their son and ignoring his mental health needs.

Earlier Friday, Judge Kwame Rowe denied a request by the shooter’s lawyers to stop students from testifying. They argued that it’s irrelevant when applying key factors set by the U.S. Supreme Court when determining a sentence for a minor.

“I’m able to discern what’s relevant to the… factors and what’s not relevant,” the judge said.

Prosecutors presented other witnesses Friday. An assistant principal, Kristy Gibson-Marshall, tearfully described how she tried to revive Tate Myre, a student whom she had known since he was 3 years old. He died.

“It was crushing. I had to help him,” Gibson-Marshall testified. “I could feel the entrance wound in the back of his head. … I just kept talking to him, that I love him, that I needed him to hang with me.”

It took “months to get the taste of Tate’s blood out of me,” she said.

Gibson-Marshall also knew the shooter, who passed by but didn’t harm her.

Separately, a 16-year-old boy explained how he hid in a bathroom with another student, Justin Shilling, who was killed by the shooter. Keegan Gregory said he suddenly found an opportunity to run behind the shooter’s back and escape.

“I realized if I stayed I was going to die,” said Keegan, who now wears a tattoo to honor the victims. “I just kept running as fast as I could, making turns so if he chased me I’d lose him.”

The hearing will resume Tuesday.

If the shooter doesn’t get a life sentence, he would be given a minimum prison sentence somewhere from 25 years to 40 years. He would then be eligible for parole, though the parole board has much discretion to keep a prisoner in custody.

There were opportunities to possibly prevent the shooting earlier that day. The boy and his parents met with school staff after a teacher was troubled by drawings that included a gun pointing at the words: “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.”

The teen was allowed to stay in school, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Detroit, though his backpack was not checked for weapons.


Follow Ed White at http://twitter.com/edwritez

United States News

FILE - President Joe Biden and California Gov. Gavin Newsom wait for reporters to leave the room du...

Associated Press

California governor to name Laphonza Butler, former Kamala Harris adviser, to Feinstein Senate seat

California Gov. Gavin Newsom will name Laphonza Butler, a Democratic strategist, to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat held by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein,

1 hour ago

Associated Press

$1.04 billion Powerball jackpot tempts players to brave long odds

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An estimated $1.04 billion Powerball jackpot will be up for grabs Monday night, tempting players to spend a couple dollars on a longshot chance at instant riches. The prize is the world’s ninth-largest lottery prize behind earlier drawings of Powerball and Mega Millions, the other nearly nationwide lottery game. The […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

US expands probe into Ford engine failures to include two motors and nearly 709,000 vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. auto safety investigators have expanded a probe into Ford Motor Co. engine failures to include nearly 709,000 vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also said in documents posted Monday on its website that it upgraded the investigation to an engineering analysis, a step closer to a recall. The investigation now […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Car drives through fence at airport, briefly disrupting operations, officials say

A car crashed through a fence at Maine’s busiest airport, traveled on a service road alongside a runway and then was abandoned, causing a brief disruption, officials said. The episode unfolded Sunday morning at Portland International Jetport, when the abandoned sedan was spotted after it had crashed into a second fence in a secure area […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Protesters shout before a speaking engagement by Ben Shapiro on the campus of the University...

Associated Press

Few Americans say conservatives can speak freely on college campuses, AP-NORC/UChicago poll shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans view college campuses as far friendlier to liberals than to conservatives when it comes to free speech, with adults across the political spectrum seeing less tolerance for those on the right, according to a new poll. Overall, 47% of adults say liberals have “a lot” of freedom to express their views […]

11 hours ago

Fencer Kirsten Hawkes poses for a portrait at a fencing studio Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, in San Dieg...

Associated Press

Forced kiss claim leads to ‘helplessness’ for accuser who turned to Olympics abuse-fighting agency

DENVER (AP) — When Kirsten Hawkes, a one-time elite fencer, reached out to her childhood coach for advice about starting her own fencing club, their meeting turned awkward right away. It began, she said, with an unwanted kiss on the lips when the two met at a bar during a fencing tournament in Minneapolis last […]

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Home moving relocation in Arizona 2023...

BMS Moving

Tips for making your move in Arizona easier

If you're moving to a new home in Arizona, use this to-do list to alleviate some stress and ensure a smoother transition to your new home.


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.



At Ability360, every day is Independence Day

With 100 different programs and services, more than 1,500 non-medically based home care staff, a world-renowned Sports & Fitness Center and over 15,000 people with disabilities served annually, across all ages and demographics, Ability360 is a nationwide leader in the disability community.

Teen says she ‘just prayed’ while saving girl in Michigan school shooting