A prosecutor in Michigan filed involuntary manslaughter charges Friday against the parents of the 15-year-old boy accused of killing four students in the Oxford High School shooting, saying their actions went ‘far beyond negligence.’
James and Jennifer Crumbley have both been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Their 15-year-old son Ethan has been charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism, for the shooting Tuesday at Oxford High School.
‘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.’
The suspect was caught searching ammunition on his phone while at school before the shooting. McDonald said school officials contacted his mother about the online search several times to no response.
She instead texted her son: ‘LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,’
Ethan had been flagged twice by school personnel for ‘concerning behavior.’ The first time was the day before the shooting, and the second was just hours before.
His parents were brought into the school around 10am the day of the shooting for a meeting after a teacher found an alarming note Ethan left on his desk.
The teacher was so disturbed she took a cellphone photo of the drawing, which included a semiautomatic handgun pointing at the words ‘the thoughts won’t stop, help me.’
The drawing also featured a bullet with the words ‘blood everywhere’ above it and a sketching of a person with two gunshot wounds, who appears to be bleeding.
Ethan also drew a laughing emoji alongside those images, and wrote out concerning messages such as ‘life is useless,’ and ‘the world is dead.’
When confronted about the note, Jennifer and James were advised to get their son into counseling within 48 hours. Both resisted the idea of taking their son out of school with them then, and failed to ask him where his gun was, McDonald said.
‘Looking at that drawing it’s impossible not to conclude that there was a reason to believe he was going to hurt somebody,’ McDonald said during a press conference.
Later, when reports emerged of there being an active shooter on campus, Jennifer texted her son: ‘Ethan. Don’t do it.’
About fifteen minutes later James called 911 and said a gun was missing from his home, and that he believed his son may be the shooter.
‘These charges are intended to hold the individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable and to send a message that gun owners have a responsibility,’ McDonald said. ‘Justice for the victims and their families is at the forefront of this announcement.
We need to do better in this country.’
McDonald could not confirm if the parents were already in custody.
Four students: Tate Myre, 16; Hana St Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17 and Justin Shilling, 17, were killed in the shooting. Seven others, including a teacher, were injured. Three are still in the hospital in stable condition.