The parents of a teenager who allegedly opened fire in his Michigan school now face manslaughter charges as a prosecutor blasted them and detailed how they failed to act in the days before the shooting.
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced the charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley on Dec. 3. They were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Their son Ethan Crumbley opened fire in Oxford High School in suburban Detroit on Nov. 30, police said. Seven were injured and four people were killed in the shooting, the deadliest school shooting in years.
Four students — Hana St. Juliana, 14; Tate Myre, 16; Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17 — died in the incident.
Ethan Crumbley was charged with four counts of murder, terrorism and other charges.
“It’s imperative we prevent this from happening again,” McDonald said.
McDonald described how James Crumbley bought a gun days before the shooting. The gun he bought, a 9mm Sig Sauer SP 2022, was the same gun recovered by police at the school, McDonald said.
Ethan posted about the gun on social media with the caption “Just got my new beauty today,” and included an emoji with hearts, McDonald said.
Days before the gun purchase, a teacher at Oxford High School saw Ethan Crumbley looking at ammo on his cell phone. The teacher reported it to administrators who contacted the teen’s parents, but those messages were ignored, McDonald said.
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“Lol, I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught,” Jennifer Crumbley wrote in her text message to her son, McDonald said at a press conference that was streamed online.
The next day, a teacher saw disturbing drawings by Ethan Crumbley that included a shooting victim and him pleading for the thoughts to stop. The parents were contacted and came to the school.
The adults failed to ask if Ethan had a gun and inspect his backpack for one, McDonald said. His parents also refused to remove Ethan from school that day. The parents were informed they were required to get Ethan counseling. James and Jennifer Crumbley left the school that day without Ethan, McDonald said.
On the day of the shooting, moments after it began and word spread, Jennifer Crumbley texted her son, McDonald said.
“Ethan, don’t do it,” the message read, McDonald said.
Minutes later, James Crumbley called 911 to report the gun was missing and his son might be the shooter, McDonald said. The gun was kept in an unlocked drawer in James and Jennifer Crumbley’s bedroom, the prosecutor said.
The charges are to hold people responsible for the shooting, even if they didn’t pull the trigger, McDonald said.
“Gun owners have a responsibility,” McDonald said, “when they fail to uphold that responsibility, there are serious and criminal consequences.”
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