The parents of a teenager accused of killing four classmates at Oxford High School in Michigan have been charged in connection to the school shooting.
James and Jennifer Crumbley were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced Friday.
Their son, the suspected gunman, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, allegedly used his father’s semi-automatic handgun, a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol, in the Tuesday shooting that killed four and injured seven.
Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with one count of terrorism causing death; four counts of first-degree murder; seven counts of assault with intent to murder; and 11 counts of possession of a firearm in commission of a felony.
“While the shooter was the one who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there are other individuals who contributed to this, to the events on November 30, and it is my intention to hold them accountable,” McDonald said Friday at a news conference.
On Nov. 21, a teacher saw Ethan Crumbley researching ammunition in class, the prosecutor said. The teen’s parents were called and emailed but they didn’t respond to school officials, she said. However, according to the prosecutor, Jennifer Crumbley texted her son about the incident, writing, “lol, I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught.”
According to McDonald, the morning of the shooting, Ethan Crumbley’s teacher saw a note on his desk which alarmed her. McDonald said the note was “a drawing of a semi-automatic handgun pointing at the words, ‘The thoughts won’t stop, help me.’ In another section of the note was a drawing of a bullet with the following words above that bullet, ‘Blood everywhere.’”
“Between the drawing of the gun and the bullet is a drawing of a person who appears to have been shot twice and bleeding,” she said. “Below that figure is a drawing of a laughing emoji. Further down the drawing are the words, ‘My life is useless,’ and to the right of that are the words, ‘The world is dead.’”
Ethan Crumbley was removed from the classroom and his parents were called to the school, McDonald said.
By the time a counselor obtained the drawing, the teen had allegedly altered it, McDonald said.
“At the meeting, James and Jennifer Crumbley were shown the drawing and were advised that they were required to get their son into counseling within 48 hours,” she said. “Both James and Jennifer Crumbley failed to ask their son if he had his gun with him or where his gun was located and failed to inspect his backpack for the presence of the gun, which he had with him.”
The parents left school while Ethan Crumbley returned to class, likely with the gun in his backpack, McDonald said.
Once news broke of a shooting at the school, McDonald said Jennifer Crumbley texted her son, “Ethan, don’t do it.”
James Crumbley called 911 to report that a gun was missing from his house and said he believed his son may be the shooter, McDonald said.
Authorities determined James Crumbley’s semi-automatic handgun was stored unlocked in a drawer in his bedroom, McDonald said.
McDonald said at the news conference, “These charges are intended to hold the individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable and also send a message that gun owners have a responsibility. When they fail to uphold that responsibility, there are serious and criminal consequences.”
A judge entered a not guilty plea for Ethan Crumbley on Wednesday. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 13.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.