Editor's note: The following story contains details about a school shooting and gun violence, and may be distressing for some readers.
“It was a tough day yesterday. I mean, you never really think that something like that is going to happen in your hometown,” said Norris, while sporting an ‘Oxford 42’ patch on his sweater and holding back tears. “I just want to send all my love and my thoughts and everything with my hometown.”
On Tuesday, a gunman opened fire at Oxford High School, claiming the lives of 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana and 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin. The death toll rose to four on Wednesday after Justin Shilling, a 17-year-old, succumbed to his injuries. Seven other people were injured during the shooting, the deadliest to happen on school property in the United States this year, according to Education Week, which tracks such shootings in America.
The suspect, a 15-year-old sophomore, is now in police custody and has been charged with terrorism and first-degree murder by prosecutors in suburban Detroit.
Norris, who was born in Oxford and played for the local Oakland Jr. Grizzlies growing up, struggled to find words while continuing to give his thoughts on the unthinkable tragedy that happened in his community.
"It's hard," said Norris after a long pause. "Just what some of those kids went through and the parents of those kids.
"I'm proud to be from there and it's such an unfortunate situation and I just have my thoughts with them."
Norris wasn't the only member of the hockey community publicly grieving what took place.
Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill also fought back tears while speaking on the tragedy that occurred approximately 50 kilometres outside Detroit on Tuesday.
"I just want to send out my prayers to the families that were affected today in Oxford," the Detroit-born coach said with a trembling voice.
"It's a terrible, terrible thing. It just shouldn't happen. Nothing I say certainly can do anything to help those that suffered the tragedy, that lost their lives. It's insane that this is somewhat normal and it just shouldn't happen. My heart goes out to everybody involved, everybody at the school, the community.
"It's got to stop."
Our thoughts are with Oxford, MI tonight. pic.twitter.com/fo3ORqLGZz
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) December 1, 2021
"It's an unspeakable tragedy what happened today," Red Wings captain and Michigan native Dylan Larkin said. "It hit us hard, it hit the guys in the room hard. We're thinking about the victims and the entire community. We're there to support and we just feel awful about the tragedy that happened today."