UPDATE: Teen accused in Michigan high school shooting due in court

National
MONDAY 12/13/2021 10:12 a.m.

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — A 15-year-old boy accused of opening fire at his Michigan high school, killing four students and wounding seven other people, was due in court Monday for a procedural hearing.

Ethan Crumbley is charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other counts for the Nov. 30 shooting at Oxford High School, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit.

The purpose of Monday’s hearing in Rochester Hills is to prepare for the next hearing, set for Dec. 20, at which a judge would hear evidence and decide whether there’s enough evidence to send Crumbley to trial. It’s possible that the case could be put on hold if his attorney seeks a mental competency exam.

“In a case like Crumbley, the primary topics addressed would likely be: the exchange of discovery and the timing of that exchange; whether the preliminary examination will proceed on the scheduled date, whether it will be waived, or whether it will be adjourned to a new date; and bond,” a spokesman for the Oakland County prosecutor’s office said.

The Associated Press left an email Friday seeking comment from Crumbley’s attorney.

Crumbley’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are accused of failing to intervene on the day of the tragedy and are charged with involuntary manslaughter and were arrested.

The morning of the shooting, school officials met with Ethan Crumbley and his parents at the school after a teacher found a drawing of a gun, a bullet and a person who appeared to have been shot, along with messages stating, “My life is useless” and “The world is dead.”

The school district’s superintendent has said the Crumbleys “flatly refused” to take their son home.

The gun used in the shooting also was bought days before by James Crumbley and their son had full access to it, prosecutors said.

UPDATE: Bond set at combined $1M after Michigan parents enter pleas

SATURDAY 12/4/2021 9:52 a.m.

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A judge imposed a combined $1 million bond Saturday for the parents of the Michigan teen charged with killing four students at Oxford High School, hours after police said they were caught hiding in a Detroit commercial building.

James and Jennifer Crumbley entered not guilty pleas to each of the four involuntary manslaughter counts against them during a hearing held on Zoom.

Judge Julie Nicholson assigned bond of $500,000 apiece to each of the parents and placed other requirements such as GPS monitoring, agreeing with prosecutors that they posed a flight risk.

Defense attorneys for the Crumbleys said they never intended to flee and planned to turn themselves in on Saturday morning. They accused prosecutors of “cherry picking” facts to publicly release and said their clients were terrified and only wanted time to make arrangements.

“Our clients are just as devastated as everyone else,” attorney Shannon Smith said.

But Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said the couple took $4,000 out of an ATM not far from law enforcement or court locations they could have reported to, suggesting they could not be trusted to appear for future court hearings.

“These are not people we can be sure will return to court on their own,” she said.

McDonald’s office filed involuntary manslaughter charges against the Crumbleys on Friday, accusing them of failing to intervene on the day of the tragedy despite being confronted with a drawing and chilling message — “blood everywhere” — that was found at the boy’s desk.

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

Chief: Michigan suspect’s parents found hiding in building

SATURDAY 12/4/2021 7:47 a.m.

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — The parents of a teen accused of killing four students in a shooting at Oxford High School were found hiding in a Detroit building early Saturday, several hours after a prosecutor filed involuntary manslaughter charges against them, officials said.

James and Jennifer Crumbley were captured in a commercial building that housed artwork, Detroit Police Chief James E. White said at a news conference.

The Crumbleys’ attorney, Shannon Smith, said Friday that the pair had left town earlier in the week “for their own safety” and would be returning to Oxford to be arraigned. But White seemed to dismiss the possibility that was their intention.

“This isn’t indicative of turning yourself in — hiding in a warehouse,” White said.

White said the couple “were aided in getting into the building,” and that a person who helped them may also face charges.

A Detroit business owner spotted a car tied to the Crumbleys in his parking lot late Friday, Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said in a statement. A woman seen near the vehicle ran away when the business owner called 911, McCabe said. The couple was later located and arrested by Detroit police.

He added that the parents appeared to be “distressed” when they were captured.

“Head down… just very upset,” he said of one of the parents.

A prosecutor filed involuntary manslaughter charges against the Crumbleys on Friday, accusing them of failing to intervene on the day of the tragedy despite being confronted with a drawing and chilling message — “blood everywhere” — that was found at the boy’s desk.

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

Authorities had been looking for the couple since Friday afternoon. Late Friday, U.S. Marshals announced a reward of up to $10,000 each for information leading to their arrests.

The couple was expected to be booked into the Oakland County Jail, McCabe said.

Earlier, the prosecutor offered the most precise account so far of the events that led to the shooting at Oxford High School, roughly 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit.

Ethan Crumbley, 15, emerged from a bathroom with a gun, shooting students in the hallway, investigators said. He’s charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes.

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

Parents in the U.S. 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.

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

Jennifer Crumbley was contacted and subsequently told her son in a text message: “Lol. I’m 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 pointing at the words, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me,” McDonald said.

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

Between the gun and the bullet was a person who appeared to have been shot twice and is 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 told to get him into counseling within 48 hours, McDonald said.

The Crumbleys failed to ask their son about the gun or check his backpack and “resisted the idea of their son leaving the school at that time,” McDonald said.

Instead, the teen returned to class and the shooting subsequently occurred.

“The notion that a parent could read those words and also know that their son had access to a deadly weapon that they gave him is unconscionable — it’s criminal,” the prosecutor said.

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 that Ethan might be the shooter. The gun had been kept in an unlocked drawer in the parents’ bedroom, McDonald said.

Ethan accompanied his father for the gun purchase on Nov. 26 and posted photos of the firearm on social media, saying, “Just got my new beauty today,” McDonald said.

Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, Jennifer Crumbley wrote on social media that it is a “mom and son day testing out his new Christmas present,” the prosecutor said.

Asked at a news conference if the father could be charged for purchasing the gun for the son, McDonald said that would be the decision of federal authorities.

In a video message to the community Thursday, the head of Oxford Community Schools said the high school looks like a “war zone” and won’t be ready for weeks. Superintendent Tim Throne repeatedly complimented students and staff for how they responded to the violence.

He also acknowledged the meeting of Crumbley, the parents and school officials. Throne offered no details but summed it 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 that is a universal position. I’m not going to chastise or attack, but yeah,” she said.

Asked if school officials may potentially be charged, McDonald said: “The investigation’s ongoing.”

UPDATE: Lawyer: Parents in Michigan school shooting didn’t flee

FRIDAY 12/3/2021 3:50 p.m.

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A lawyer says two parents charged with involuntary manslaughter in a Michigan high school shooting left town for their own safety but are returning to face arraignment.

Shannon Smith spoke after authorities said they were searching for Jennifer and James Crumbley. They are the parents of Ethan Crumbley, who is charged with murder and terrorism in the deaths of four students at Oxford High School on Tuesday.

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

In a text message, Smith says the parents have not fled from authorities. She didn’t say when they would appear in court.

UPDATE: Search on for 2 parents charged in Michigan school shooting

FRIDAY 12/3/2021 2:45 p.m.

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — Michigan authorities say they’re searching for two parents charged with involuntary manslaughter in a high school shooting.

Jennifer and James Crumbley are the parents of Ethan Crumbley, who is charged with murder and terrorism in the deaths of four students at Oxford High School on Tuesday.

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

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard says an attorney for the Crumbleys hasn’t been able to reach them.

UPDATE: Suspect’s parents charged in Michigan school shooting

FRIDAY 12/3/2021 10:55 a.m.

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A prosecutor filed involuntary manslaughter charges Friday against the parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan High School.

James and Jennifer Crumbley were charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter.

Authorities have said Ethan Crumbley opened fire shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday at Oxford High School, roughly 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit. Seven students and a teacher were shot before Crumbley surrendered to sheriff’s deputies.

Three of the students died Tuesday. The fourth died Wednesday at a hospital.

Photos of three of the four teens killed in the Oxford High School shooting are posted on the window at Sullivan’s Public House Restaurant and Bar on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021 in Oxford, Mich. A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school on Tuesday, killing four students, including a 16-year-old boy who died in a deputy’s patrol car on the way to a hospital, authorities said. (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)

The semi-automatic gun used in the shooting was purchased legally by Crumbley’s father last week, according to investigators.

“The parents were the only individuals in the position to know the access to weapons,” Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said Thursday. The gun “seems to have been just freely available to that individual.”

She said then that the parents’ actions went “far beyond negligence.”

Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism.

UPDATE: Charging decision anticipated for Michigan shooter’s parents

THURSDAY 12/2/2021 4:20 p.m.

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A prosecutor considering criminal charges against the parents of a boy accused of killing four students at a Michigan school said Thursday their actions went “far beyond negligence” and that the gun “seems to have been just freely available” to the teenager.

Ethan Crumbley, 15, has been charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism, for a shooting Tuesday at Oxford High School in Oakland County, roughly 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit.

Four students were killed and seven more people were injured, including a student who remained in critical condition.

“All I can say at this point is those actions on mom and dad’s behalf go far beyond negligence,” Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said. “We obviously are prosecuting the shooter to the fullest extent. … There are other individuals who should be held accountable.”

The semi-automatic gun was purchased by Crumbley’s father last week, according to investigators.

“The parents were the only individuals in the position to know the access to weapons,” McDonald told WJR-AM. The gun “seems to have been just freely available to that individual.”

McDonald said she hopes to have an announcement regarding charges against Crumbley’s parents within 24 hours. On Monday, she acknowledged that charges were being considered, saying “Owning a gun means securing it properly and locking it and keeping the ammunition separate.”

Jennifer and James Crumbley did not return a message left by The Associated Press.

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.”

Crumbley stayed in school Tuesday and later emerged from a bathroom with a gun, firing at students in the hallway, police said.

“I just can’t get to a space right now to blame anybody who worked at that school. They were terrorized,” McDonald said.

“Should there have been different decisions made?” she said when asked about keeping the teen in school. “Probably they will come to that conclusion. … Again, I have not seen anything that would make me think that there’s criminal culpability. It’s a terrible, terrible tragedy.”

The Oxford school district hasn’t commented on the meeting with Crumbley’s parents before the shooting.

There’s no Michigan law that requires gun owners keep weapons locked away from children. William Swor, a defense lawyer who is not involved in the case, said charging the parents would require a “very fact-intensive investigation.”

“What did they know and when did they know it?” Swor said. “What advance information did they have about all these things? Did they know anything about his attitude, things of that nature. You’re talking about a very heavy burden to bring on the parents.”

In 2020, the mother of an Indiana teen was placed on probation for failing to remove guns from her home after her mentally ill son threatened to kill students. He fired shots inside his school in 2018. No one was injured but the boy killed himself.

In Texas, the parents of a student who was accused of killing 10 people at a school in 2018 have been sued over his access to guns.

Meanwhile, dozens of schools in southeastern Michigan canceled classes Thursday due to concerns about threatening messages on social media following the Oxford shooting. Some schools stayed open with a larger police presence.

Bouchard said no threats in Oakland County were found to be credible.

“If you’re making threats, we’re going to find you,” the sheriff said. “It is ridiculous you’re inflaming the fears of parents, teachers in the community in the midst of a real tragedy.”

UPDATE: Michigan teen charged in high school shooting

WEDNESDAY, 12/1/2021 1:28 p.m.

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan teenager has been charged with murder, terrorism and other charges for a shooting that killed four fellow students and injured others at Michigan’s Oxford High School.

Charges against 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley were announced Wednesday, a few hours after authorities reported the death of a fourth teen from the school in southeastern Michigan. Crumbley is charged as an adult.

The shooting occurred Tuesday, about 30 miles north of Detroit in Oakland County.

Investigators say Crumbley was armed with a semi-automatic handgun purchased last week by his father.

Fourth student dies from Michigan high school shooting

WEDNESDAY 12/1/2021 11:36 a.m.

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a 17-year-old boy has become the fourth student to die from a school shooting in Michigan.

The Oakland County sheriff’s office identified the teen Wednesday as Justin Shilling.

The shooting occurred Tuesday at Oxford High School in Oakland County. The suspect remains in custody.

Seven other people were wounded, some critically, including a 14-year-old girl who was placed on a ventilator after surgery.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school, killing three students, including a 16-year-old boy who died in a deputy’s patrol car on the way to a hospital, authorities said.

Eight other people were wounded, some critically, including a 14-year-old girl who was placed on a ventilator after surgery. Investigators were still trying to determine a motive for the shooting Tuesday at Oxford High School, located in a community of about 22,000 people roughly 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Detroit, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.

“The person that’s got the most insight and the motive is not talking,” he said at a news conference late Tuesday.

Deputies rushed to the school around lunch time as more than 100 calls flooded 911 dispatchers with reports of a shooter. They arrested the student in a hallway within minutes of their arrival. He put his hands in the air as deputies approached, Bouchard said.

The boy’s father on Friday bought the 9 mm Sig Sauer used in the shooting, Bouchard said. He didn’t know why the man bought the semi-automatic handgun, which his son had been posting pictures of and practicing shooting, Bouchard said.

Authorities didn’t immediately release the boy’s name.

The three students who were killed were 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, and 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin. Bouchard said Myre died in a patrol car as a deputy tried to get him to an emergency room.

A teacher who received a graze wound to the shoulder has left the hospital, but seven students ranging in age from 14 to 17 remained hospitalized through the night with gunshot wounds, he said.

The gun the boy was carrying had seven more rounds of ammo in it when he surrendered, Bouchard said.

Undersheriff Mike McCabe said the student’s parents advised their son not to talk to investigators. Police must seek permission from a juvenile’s parents or guardian to speak with them, he added.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said in a statement her office expects to issue charges quickly and that an update would be given Wednesday.

Authorities were made aware of posts on social media that said there had been threats of a shooting at the roughly 1,700-student school, but Bouchard said they didn’t know about the rumors until after the attack.

He stressed how crucial it is for tips of the kind to be sent to authorities, while also cautioning against spreading social media rumors before a full investigation.

McCabe also downplayed the significance of a situation in early November when a deer head was thrown off the school roof, which he said was “absolutely unrelated” to the shooting. The vandalism prompted school administrators to post two letters to parents on the school’s website, saying they were responding to rumors of a threat against the school but had found none.

Bouchard said the student in custody had no previous run-ins with his department and he wasn’t aware of any disciplinary history at school.

“That’s part of our investigation to determine what happened prior to this event and if some signs were missed how were they missed and why,” he said.

The campus was placed on lockdown during the attack, with some children sheltering in locked classrooms. They were later taken to a nearby Meijer grocery store to be picked up by their parents.

The district said in a statement that all of its schools would be closed for the rest of the week.

Isabel Flores, a 15-year-old ninth grader, told WJBK-TV that she and other students heard gunshots and saw another student bleeding from the face. They then ran from the area through the rear of the school, she said.

Authorities said they were searching the suspect’s cellphone, school video footage and social media posts for any evidence of a possible motive.

School administrators had posted two letters to parents on the school’s website in November, saying they were responding to rumors of a threat against the school following a bizarre vandalism incident.

According to a Nov. 4 letter written by Principal Steve Wolf, someone threw a deer head into a courtyard from the school’s roof, painted several windows on the roof with red acrylic paint and used the same paint on concrete near the school building during the early morning hours. Without specifically referencing that incident, a second post on Nov. 12 assured “there has been no threat to our building nor our students.”

Both the sheriff and undersheriff emphasized that Tuesday’s shooting was unrelated to the deer head or any earlier investigation by their office.

“That was a different incident, different student,” McCabe said.

A concerned parent, Robin Redding, said her son, Treshan Bryant, is a 12th grader at the school but stayed home Tuesday. Redding said her son had heard threats that there could be a shooting.

“This couldn’t be just random,” she said.

Bryant said he texted several younger cousins in the morning and they said they didn’t want to go to school, and he got a bad feeling. He asked his mom if he could do his assignments online.

Bryant said he had heard vague threats “for a long time now” about plans for a shooting.

At a vigil Tuesday night at LakePoint Community Church, Leeann Dersa choked back tears as she hugged friends and neighbors. Dersa has lived nearly all of her 73 years in Oxford. Her grandchildren attended the high school.

“Scared us all something terrible. It’s awful,” Dersa said of the shooting.

Pastor Jesse Holt said news of the shooting flooded in to him and his wife, including texts from some of the 20 to 25 students who are among the 400-member congregation.

“Some were very scared, hiding under their desks and texting us, ‘We’re safe, we’re OK. We heard gunshots, but we’re OK.’ They were trying to calm us, at least that’s how it felt,” he said.

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