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Suspect’s parents resisted removing him from Oxford High School 3 hours before fatal shooting

A meeting over the 15-year-old’s behavior with parents occurred just before fatal shooting
Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 8:29 PM EST
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OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (WILX) - Law enforcement officers issued a manhunt Friday for the parents of a 15-year-old boy accused of killing four students.

Related: US Marshals take on search for Oxford High School shooting suspect’s parents

James Robert Crumbley and Jennifer Lynn Crumbley are both facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with Tuesday’s shooting at Oxford High School.

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.

Sheriff Michael Bouchard said an attorney for the couple contacted detectives, claimed to represent them and would make arrangement for their arrest if charges were issued.

Once the Oakland County Prosecutor had issued the warrants, deputies moved to arrest the couple. The attorney contacted authorities and said she had attempted to contact the Crumbleys repeatedly but were unsuccessful.

“We have our Fugitive Apprehension Team, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service and others actively looking for them and have every expectation we’ll have them in custody soon,” Bouchard said following the unsuccessful attempts to contact the parents. “The action of fleeing and ignoring their attorney certainly adds weight to the charges. They cannot run from their part in this tragedy.”

The attorney reached out to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and said the Crumbleys will return to the area to be arraigned. Shortly after, the United States Marshals Service announced it was joining the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office in the search for the parents.

A $10,000 reward was offered Friday night for information that leads to their arrest.

According to Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald, the gun believed to have been used by Ethan Crumbley was purchased by his father days before the shooting. McDonald said the gun was stored in an unlocked drawer and was “freely available” to the teenager.

She said the parent’s actions went “far beyond negligence.”

McDonald revealed a teacher at Oxford High School came across a note the suspected shooter wrote that included drawings of a gun, a person bleeding and messages that led to a meeting between educators and his parents three hours before the shooting. At the meeting, James and Jennifer Crumbley reportedly argued against taking their son out of school at the time and left without him.

The superintendent claimed “no discipline was warranted” at the time.

Read: School chief: Discipline not needed for boy before shooting

Prosecutors said Ethan Crumbley had the gun with him and returned to the classroom after the meeting. McDonald said when the news of the shooting at Oxford High School went public, Jennifer Crumbley texted her son “Ethan, don’t do it.”

Four students were killed in the shooting and seven people were injured.

  • 16-year-old Tate Myre
  • 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana
  • 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin
  • 17-year-old Justin Shilling

“This doesn’t just impact me as a prosecutor and a lawyer it impacts me as a mother. The notions 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,” McDonald said. “I think it’s criminal and it is criminal.”

The parents were expected to be arraigned Friday, but as of Friday evening, they have not been taken into custody.

“These charges are intended to hold the individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable and also send the message gun owners have a responsibility when they fail to uphold that responsibility there are consequences,” McDonald said.

Bouchard said he believes Oxford High School officials should have told authorities about Ethan Crumbley’s behavior. He had previously said that law enforcement had received no information regarding Crumbley until after the shooting.

Read: Deer head, countdown clock, shooting pact -- Authorities blast ‘false information’ in Oxford High School shooting

Ethan Crumbley was arraigned Wednesday on one charge of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm. He is being charged as an adult.

Read: 15-year-old boy arraigned on charges of terrorism, murder in fatal Oxford High School shooting

If convicted, Ethan Crumbley faces life in prison without parole. He pleaded not-guilty to the charges.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office at 248-858-4911 or by email at ocso@oakgov.com.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

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