Michigan school shooter's parents charged with manslaughter
Parents of Michigan shooter Ethan Crumbley, 15, go on the RUN after being charged with manslaughter for his school rampage that left four dead: Prosecutors reveal they bought the 9mm handgun for him for CHRISTMAS
- Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald filed involuntary manslaughter charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley on Friday
- Under Michigan law, involuntary manslaughter charge can be filed if prosecutors believe someone contributed to a situation where death was likely
- James Crumbley purchased the handgun used in Tuesday’s mass shooting police say was carried out by his son, Ethan Crumbley, 15
- Jennifer took her son shooting the day after James purchased it. She posted a photo of the gun to social media: ‘Mom & son day testing out his new Xmas present’
- Ethan was charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism
- Shooting at Oxford High School near Detroit killed four students and wounded seven others
- Gun expert said murder weapon – a 9 mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 – has been out of production for years and was likely purchased through a private seller
The parents of accused Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley are now on the run from police, just hours after a prosecutor announced involuntary manslaughter charges against them and revealed stunning details about the murder weapon that was a Christmas gift for the 15-year-old, whom police say shot dead four students after penning a disturbing note saying ‘thoughts won’t stop, help me.’
Police have issued a ‘be on the lookout alert’ for James and Jennifer Crumbley, who were charged Friday with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with Tuesday’s deadly shooting. The charge carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald alleged that the parents ignored multiple warning signs and refused to take their son out of school just hours before the shooting took place.
Jennifer Crumbley bragged on social media about going out with Ethan to test his Christmas present – a 9mm handgun – just three days before the shooting at Oxford High School, and just one day after her husband James had purchased the gun for Ethan.
During a press conference Friday, McDonald revealed stunning new details leading up to the shooting that took place Tuesday afternoon, including that Jennifer Crumbley texted her son about 30 minutes after the rampage saying, ‘Ethan, don’t do it,’ and that her husband James called 911 to report that his gun – a 9 mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 – was missing and that Ethan was likely the shooter.
The prosecutor revealed that James Crumbley, who – like his wife – had a prior criminal history in Michigan, bought the murder weapon from a retailer with his son there on November 26. He stored the 9mm handgun in an unlocked drawer in his bedroom, McDonald said.
The next day, Jennifer posted about the Christmas present to Instagram with the caption: ‘Mom & son day testing out his new Xmas [sic] present.’ Jennifer’s Instagram account has since been taken down.
On an Instagram account which has since been deleted, Ethan Crumbley bragged about getting his ‘new beauty’ – a 9mm Siga Sauer – on November 26. The next day, his mother, Jennifer Crumbley, shared a post on her now-defunct Instagram account featuring the gun and the caption: ‘mom & son day testing his new Xmas present’
A police officer is seen outside the Crumbly family’s home in Oxford, Michigan, on Friday
Less than a week before the gun was purchased, on November 21, McDonald said a teacher at Oxford High School observed Ethan searching ammunition on his cell during class and reported it to school officials.
Jennifer was contacted via voicemail by the school about her son’s inappropriate internet search, and officials followed up with an email but received no response, the prosecutor said.
The mother later exchanged texts with her son on that day stating: ‘lol, I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught,’ McDonald said Friday.
She also revealed that on the morning of the shooting, a teacher found a chilling note on Ethan’s desk, which featured disturbing drawings depicting a semi-automatic gun, a bullet, a shooting victim and a laughing emoji.
According to the prosecutor, the note included the words ‘blood everywhere,’ ‘thoughts won’t stop, help me,’ ‘my life is useless’ and ‘the world is dead.’
Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald announced manslaughter charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley on Friday afternoon
Pictured: Jennifer Crumbley and James Crumbley, the parents of school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, were charged on Friday with involuntary manslaughter
Crumbley’s father James, who owns the gun he used in the attack, and his mother Jennifer are pictured on Zoom attending the arraignment
Jennifer and James were immediately summoned to the school to discuss their son’s worrying behavior. A school counselor was able to obtain the note with the drawing, but McDonald said by then the noted had been ‘altered.’
Timeline of Oxford High School Shooting:
Teacher saw Ethan Crumbley searching about ammunition on his cell phone during class.
His mother Jennifer was contacted about an ‘inappropriate internet search.’ The school followed up via email but received no response.
That same day, Jennifer texted Ethan ‘lol I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught,’ Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said.
Ethan’s father James purchased the 9 mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 for Ethan from Acme Shooting Goods in Oxford.
His son was with him.
Jennifer posted a message on social media that read: ‘Mom and son day testing out his new Xmas present.’
A teacher found a chilling note on Ethan’s desk that featured disturbing drawings depicting a gun, a bullet, blood everywhere, a shooting victim and a laughing emoji.
The note included the words: ‘Thoughts won’t stop, help me’; ‘my life is useless’ and ‘the world is dead,’ McDonald said.
Jennifer and James were immediately summoned to the school for a meeting.
They failed to ask if their son had the gun with him or where it was, and they failed to inspect his backpack for the gun, which he did have with him, McDonald said.
They left the school without Ethan.
Ethan allegedly shoots and kills four students
Jennifer texted Ethan ‘don’t do it.’
The shooting had already taken place.
James called 911 to report the gun missing and said he thinks his son might have it.
Ethan charged with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism.
Jennifer and James are charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter.
The doodles of the gun and the bullet-ridden figure were ‘scratched out,’ as well as Ethan’s writings.
During the meeting, the Crumbleys were shown the note and were advised that they were required to get Ethan into counselling within 48 hours.
According to the prosecutor, the mother and father failed to ask Ethan if he had his gun with him, or where his gun was, and did not inspect his backpack.
McDonald said the parents ‘resisted’ the idea of pulling their son out of the school at that time and left without him.
Officials previously said that at 12.51pm, Ethan walked into a bathroom at Oakland High School with a backpack, then emerged less than a minute later carrying the Sig Sauer handgun and opened fire.
At 1.22pm – more than 30 minutes after the shooting was first reported – Jennifer texted her son, saying: ‘Ethan, don’t do it,’ the prosecutor said.
At 1.37pm, James called 911, reporting his newly purchased gun missing. He also told an emergency dispatcher that he believed his son might be the shooter at Oxford High School.
Under Michigan law, an involuntary manslaughter charge can be pursued if prosecutors believe someone contributed to a situation where the probability of harm or death was high.
‘The parents were the only individuals in the position to know the access to weapons,’ McDonald said Thursday. The gun, which Ethan’s father, James Crumbley, had just purchased four days before the rampage, ‘seems to have been just freely available to that individual.’
‘These charges are intended to hold the individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable and also send the message that gun owners have a responsibility.
‘When they fail to uphold that responsibility, there are serious and criminal consequences.’
Bill Kucyk, the owner of a local gun range, told Fox 2 that the murder weapon – a 9 mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 – has been out of production for years and was likely purchased through a private seller.
Ethan has been charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism, for the shooting on Tuesday.
The school shooting – the deadliest in the US since 2018 – claimed the lives of Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17. Seven more people were injured. Three were in hospitals in stable condition.
The semi-automatic gun was purchased legally by Crumbley’s father on Black Friday, according to investigators.
Parents are rarely charged in school shootings involving their children, even as most minors get guns from a parent or relative’s house, according to experts.
Michigan has no law on the books that requires gun owners to keep weapons locked away from children. McDonald, however, suggested there’s more to build a case on.
All I can say at this point is those actions on mom and dad’s behalf go far beyond negligence,” she told WJR-AM. ‘We obviously are prosecuting the shooter to the fullest extent. … There are other individuals who should be held accountable.’
Later at a news conference, McDonald said she hoped to have an announcement ‘in the next 24 hours.” She had firmly signaled that Crumbley’s parents were under scrutiny when she filed charges against their son Wednesday.
Sheriff Mike Bouchard disclosed Wednesday that the parents met with school officials about their son’s classroom behavior, just a few hours before the shooting.
McDonald said information about what had troubled the school ‘will most likely come to light soon.’
Investigators said the attack was premeditated, citing videos Crumbley recorded the night before in which he talked about shooting students, as well as a journal recovered from his backpack that described his intent to murder classmates.
Crumbley stayed in school Tuesday and later emerged from a bathroom with his father’s new gun, firing at students in the hallway, police said.
The superintendent for the district late Thursday posted a YouTube video where he said the teenager was called to the office before the shooting but ‘no discipline was warranted.’
Ethan, 15, is seen in his booking photo released by Oakland County sheriff’s office and wearing a heavy suicide-prevention vest at his arraignment hearing in Pontiac on Wednesday
On an Instagram account which has since been deleted, there are sinister horror-movie style faces, along with more recent posts of a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol and a paper target with bullet holes through it (left). It was not possible to independently verify the account but police said Crumbley ‘had been shooting with [the 9mm handgun] and posted pictures of a target and the weapon’
Michigan school shooter’s parents have criminal histories including charges of DUI and passing bad checks
James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of accused Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, 15, both had a history of run-ins with the law, which did not prevent the dad from buying a gun on Black Friday.
Court records from Florida indicate that on February 12, 2005, the pair were charged with driving under the influence. They pleaded no contest and were fined $652 each,
James’ criminal record in Florida also includes a charge of driving with a suspended license and having an improper tag, which cost him more than $200 in fines
Two years prior to the DUI case, Jennifer was accused of passing a bad check in the amount of $150, earning her a misdemeanor charge that was ultimately dismissed.
She was accused again in 2004 of writing a phony check and was fined $240.
James’ history of run-ins with the law did not impede him from passing a background check when purchasing the 9mm Sig Sauer on November 26.
Justin Shilling, 17, (left) died in the hospital on Wednesday morning and Tate Myre (right) died in the school on Tuesday
Madisyn Baldwin, 17, (left) and Hana St Juliana, 14, (right) died in Tuesday’s shooting rampage at Oxford High School in suburban Detroit
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer embraces Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter as the two leave flowers and pay their respects Thursday morning,
Tim Throne, leader of Oxford Community Schools, said the high school looks like a ‘war zone’ and won´t be ready for weeks. But he repeatedly credited students and staff for how they responded to the violence.
‘To say that I am still in shock and numb is probably an understatement. These events that have occurred will not define us,’ Throne, grim-faced and speaking slowly, said in the 12-minute video.
‘I want you to know that there´s been a lot of talk about the student who was apprehended, that he was called up to the office and all that kind of stuff. No discipline was warranted,’ Throne said. ‘There are no discipline records at the high school. Yes this student did have contact with our front office, and, yes, his parents were on campus Nov. 30.’
EXCLUSIVE: ‘Nothing ever seemed off.’ Ethan Crumbley’s older brother, 18, says the school shooting suspect, 15, was an ‘average, happy kid’, got good grades, was into Minecraft and WASN’T bullied as a child
Speaking exclusively with DailyMail.com, Eli Crumbley, 18, said he can’t understand how his own sibling could suddenly snap, open fire, and kill his classmates, following the deadly rampage in Oxford, Michigan on Tuesday.
‘The Ethan I knew was just a smart boy who just seemed like an average kid,’ he said in an interview on Wednesday. ‘There was nothing that ever stood out to me. He’d never get suspended from school, or detention.
‘He didn’t suffer depression or anything like that. He woke up happy, went to school, came home and played games.’
Eli and Ethan, 15, have the same father, but different mothers. Originally from Florida, the two boys later moved to Michigan with their dad James Crumbley and his second wife, Ethan’s mom, Jennifer.
Eli, 18, (left) and Ethan, 15, (right) have the same father, but different mothers. The two boys grew up in Florida but later moved to Michigan with their dad James Crumbley and his second wife, Ethan’s mom, Jennifer
The older brother hinted at some family turmoil that prompted him to abruptly move out last March, to live with his biological mother in Florida where he grew up.
‘It mostly had to do with the relationship between my stepmother and I,’ Eli said. He wouldn’t elaborate other than to say: ‘It wasn’t as great as it could be. Moving back to Florida was the best option for me.
Ethan remained living with his parents in a small home in Oxford, less than two miles from where he opened fire.
Eli said he hadn’t spoken with Ethan or his father in two months but reached out to his dad Tuesday night only after hearing the news of a mass shooting at Oxford High School.
‘I was worried, I wanted to see if Ethan was okay because I knew he went there,’ said Eli, who also attended the school for a year. ‘And then that’s when I was receiving information otherwise.’
Unable to reach his dad, the 18-year-old called a former employer who told him that his old house in Oxford was surrounded by FBI agents.
He then learned that his own father bought the gun that Ethan used.
‘I didn’t know he had a gun till after this happened,’ he said. ‘It’s still hard to believe,’ he said. ‘I can’t believe it.’
‘As far as I knew, Ethan was always good,’ Eli added. ‘He was just quiet, kept to himself, kept his circle of friends small. He was a clean kid, didn’t smoke or do drugs, nothing.’
‘And he got good grades,’ Eli said. ‘He wanted to be an archaeologist.’
‘When I was living there, nothing seemed off, ‘ he continued. ‘We’d just walk to the bus stop in the morning, go to school, come home, maybe play some football outside or basketball. We’d just chill, wouldn’t do much.’
Ethan was on the bowling and soccer teams in middle school, he said, but didn’t play team sports in high school.
He said his brother’s biggest hobby was video games, which he’d play at night. His favorite was Minecraft.
Asked whether he knew of any other problems Ethan was experiencing, Eli noted that they had an aunt who died a couple months ago and that Ethan recently also lost his pet dog, Tank.
‘I really don’t know what his reasoning was behind this,’ Eli said.
He was surprised to hear that bullying may have been a factor. Ethan wasn’t ever bullied as a child, according to Eli.
‘I would like to talk to him,’ he said, ‘but I don’t think that’s something that’s going to happen for a while.’
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