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Research on 2 parents charged in Michigan school shooting

Michigan officials say they are looking for the two parents accused of manslaughter in the Oxford high school shooting.

Jennifer and James Crumbley are the parents of Ethan Crumbley, the teenager accused of murder and terrorism in the deaths of four Oxford high school students on Tuesday.

Crumbley’s parents were charged on Friday. A prosecutor says they gave their son access to a gun and did not intervene despite problems at school that day.

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said a lawyer for the Crumbleys was unable to reach them.

The couple’s attorneys, Smith and Mariell Lehman, released a statement to the Detroit Free Press claiming that the couple are in fact not on the run and will be returning to the area. The statement reads as follows:

On Thursday evening, we reached out to the Oakland County District Attorney to discuss this case and to let him know that James and Jennifer Crumbley will be showing up to be brought to justice. Instead of communicating with us, the prosecutor held a press conference to announce the charges.

The Crumbleys left town on the night of the tragic shooting for their own safety. They are returning to the area to be brought to justice. They are not running away from law enforcement despite recent media comments.

However, the Oakland Sheriff’s Office appears to dispute this timeline. The Detroit News reports:

“Their lawyer assured us that if a decision was made to indict them, she would present them for arrest,” he added. [county Undersheriff Mike] McCabe said Friday.

That deal with attorney Smith took place in the morning, McCabe said around 2 p.m. Friday.

“Our last conversation with the lawyer was that she had tried to reach them by phone and text, and they were not responding,” he said.

McCabe said officers from the Fugitive Apprehension Team were looking for the couple mid-afternoon Friday.

Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald on Friday filed manslaughter charges against the Crumbleys on Friday, saying they did not intervene on the day of the tragedy despite facing a drawing and a scary message – “blood everywhere” – which was found on their son’s desk.

James and Jennifer Crumbley have committed “egregious” acts, ranging from buying a gun on Black Friday and making it available to Ethan Crumbley to resisting his removal from school when they were summoned hours before the shooting, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said.

“I expect parents and everyone to show humanity and step in to stop a potential tragedy,” she said. “The conclusion I drew from this was that there was absolute reason to believe that this individual was dangerous and disturbed.”

Oakland County Attorney Karen McDonald addresses the media in her office on December 3, 2021 in Pontiac, Michigan. McDonald has filed manslaughter charges against Jennifer and James Crumbley, parents of 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, who is accused of killing four students at a Michigan high school. (AP Photo / Carlos Osorio)

McDonald’s offered the most accurate account yet, three days after four students were killed and others injured at Oxford High School, about 31 miles north of Detroit.

Ethan Crumbley, 15, came out of a bathroom with a gun, shooting students in the hallway, investigators said. He is accused as an adult of murder, terrorism and other crimes.

Under Michigan law, the manslaughter charge against parents can be prosecuted if authorities believe someone contributed to a situation where there was a high risk of harm or death.

In the United States, parents are rarely charged with school shootings involving their children, even though most minors get guns from the home of a relative or loved one, experts say.

The couple’s court appearance was pending. It was not immediately clear whether they had lawyers who could comment.

School officials became concerned about young Crumbley on Monday, a day before the shooting, when a teacher saw him looking for ammunition on his phone, McDonald said.

Jennifer Crumbley was contacted and subsequently told her son in a text message, “Lol. I am not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught, ”according to the prosecutor.

On Tuesday, a teacher found a note on Ethan’s desk and took a photo. It was a drawing of a gun pointed at the words, “Thoughts will not stop.” Help me, ”McDonald said.

There was also a drawing of a bullet, she said, with words above: “Blood everywhere.”

Between the gun and the bullet was a person who appeared to have received two bullets and was bleeding. He also wrote: “My life is useless” and “The world is dead,” according to the prosecutor.

The school quickly had a meeting with Ethan and his parents, who were asked to put him in for consultation within 48 hours, McDonald said.

The Crumbleys did not question their son about the gun or check his backpack, McDonald said. The teenager returned to class and the shooting ensued.

“The idea that a parent could read these words and also know that their son had access to a deadly weapon they gave him is unacceptable – it is criminal,” said the prosecutor.

Jennifer Crumbley texted her son after the shooting, saying, “Ethan, don’t do it,” McDonald said.

James Crumbley called 911 to say that a gun was missing from their home and Ethan could be the shooter. The gun had been kept in an unlocked drawer in the parents’ bedroom, McDonald said.

Ethan accompanied his father to purchase the gun on November 26 and posted pictures of the gun on social media, saying, “I just got my new beauty today,” said McDonald said.

Research on 2 parents charged in Michigan school shooting

Mourners mourn at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan on December 1, 2021 (AP Photo / Paul Sancya)

In a video message to the community on Thursday, the director of Oxford Community Schools said the high school looked like a “war zone” and would not be ready for weeks. Superintendent Tim Throne has repeatedly complimented students and staff for their response to violence.

He also acknowledged the meeting of Crumbley, parents and school officials. Throne didn’t provide any details but summed up by saying, “No discipline was warranted.”

McDonald was asked about the decision to keep Crumbley in school.

“Of course, he shouldn’t have gone back to that classroom. … I believe this is a universal position. I’m not going to chastise or attack, but yes, ”she said.


The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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