Parents of Michigan school shooting suspect plead not guilty as mother sobs in court
Ethan Crumbley’s parents pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter in connection to their son’s alleged shooting rampage at Oxford High School that led to the death of four students on Tuesday.
James and Jennifer Crumbley appeared at an arraignment in front of judge Julie Nicholson this morning after being arrested by Detroit Police around 1.30am earlier today.
The arrest came after officers found a vehicle, believed to belong to the Crumbleys late on Friday, when they were searching for the couple. The vehicle was reported by the owner of the industrial building where the couple was located.
James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of the 15-year-old accused, had gone missing after being charged with involuntary manslaughter on Friday.
Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced the charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley on Friday, three days after their son Ethan allegedly killed four classmates and wounded seven others.
On Tuesday morning, the parents attended a meeting with Mr Crumbley and administrators after another teacher found a note on his desk with a drawing of a handgun that read: “The thoughts won’t stop, help me.”
The parents allegedly insisted Mr Crumbley return to class, and three hours later he carried out the massacre. When she heard reports of an active shooter, Jennifer Crumbley allegedly texted: “Ethan, don’t do it.”
How rare are charges for parents of school shooters?
It is extremely rare for prosecutors to bring charges against the parents of school shooters, experts say.
A Washington Post analysis of 105 school shootings between 1999 and 2018 found that the guns used were taken from the shooters home - or that of a relative or friend - in 84 cases.
However, only four of those cases saw adult owners of the weapons face criminal charges.
In regards to the case against Jennifer and James Crumbley, NBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos told the outlet: “They have a clear path to a conviction, if they have the evidence.
“Does this herald a new era of holding parents responsible for homicides committed by their children? Maybe.”
What did school officials know about Ethan Crumbley before the shooting took place?
Before the tragic school shooting in Oxford, Michigan, school officials were aware Ethan Crumbley was displaying troubling behaviours in class, such as looking up information about ammunition and drawing images of graphic violence. They were so alarmed they even called Mr Crumbley’s parents into the school the day of the shooting for a meeting. However, the superintendent of Michigan’s Oxford Community Schools has said Ethan’s actions prior to the shooting weren’t enough to warrant discipline from the school, and that the 15-year-old alleged shooter didn’t have a record of misbehaviour. Read more in Shweta Sharma’s report.
Sheriff says decision to let suspect return to class will be part of investigation
READ: Police issue ‘BOLO’ alert for fugitive Crumbley parents’ SUV
Police in Michigan, now officially aided by the FBI and the US Marshals Service, are on the hunt for Jennifer and James Crumbley.
Alleged Oxford school shooter Ethan Crumbley’s parents were charged today with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter each, but haven’t appeared for their scheduled arraignment.
As a result, authorities have labelled them fugitives and put out a Be On The Lookout (BOLO) alert for the pair and their Kia SUV, even though the couple’s lawyers insist they aren’t on the run.
Community gathers outside hospital as Oxford shooting victim undergoes organ donation surgery
A crowd of community members gathered outside the McClaren Hospital in Oxford, Michigan, on Friday in support of Justin Shillings, one of the four teens killed in the Oxford High School mass shooting earlier this week.
Mr Shillings is an organ donor, and the crowd was there to show their support for his family as the teen’s body was moved into surgery.
Journalist Allie Gross took a picture of the gathering, which she described as solemn and silent.
WATCH: Chilling video shows students hiding in classroom as Oxford shooter tries to enter
The Oxford High School mass shooting already claimed the lives of four people and injured seven—and it could’ve been even worse, a video captured by a student reveals.
The clip, posted on TikTok, shows students hiding out in a classroom, refusing to open the door for the alleged shooter, even though he claims he is the sheriff.
US Marshals task force joins hunt for Ethan Crumbley’s parents
The US Marshals Service, the federal agency responsible for judicial security and apprehending federal fugitives, has officially joined the hunt for Jennifer and James Crumbley, who have been charged with involuntary manslaughter for the Oxford High School mass shooting but haven’t shown for their planned arraignment.
“The US Marshals have adopted the case of the search for James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the accused Oxford HS (Mich.) shooter,” the agency wrote in a statement on Friday. “The USMS Detroit Fugitive Apprehension team is working in conjunction with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office on the search.”
WATCH: Ethan Crumbley’s parents appeared to suspect he would commit mass shooting
Following the mass shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan this week, the inevitable question on many minds was: were there any warning signs that people missed before the tragic killings? According to local prosecutors, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, the alleged shooter, were apparently suspicious enough that their son could be at risk of committing violence that when they heard news of the shooting, Mr Crumbley’s mother Jennifer texted her son, “Don’t do it.”
What policy solutions could’ve stopped the Oxford mass shooting?
During a press conference on Friday, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said that alleged shooter Ethan Crumbley was able to easily take his father’s gun out of an unlocked drawer the day of the mass shooting.
Other states and countries have tried numerous ways of reducing the risk of guns falling into the hands of young people, from safe storage rules to outright bans on firearms.
Here are some promising solutions that The Independent has covered in recent years.
On Wednesday, a gunman opened fire at a Florida high school, leaving 17 people dead and more than a dozen others injured.
Legislators have brought guns into the Oregon State Capitol for personal protection
Commentators compare missing Crumbley parents to fugitive Brian Laundrie
Social media commentators are comparing Ethan Crumbley’s missing parents to Brian Laundrie, the person of interest of interest and boyfriend of murdered travel vlogger Gabby Petito, who fled police before dying by suicide after a nationwide manhunt. Here’s some of our coverage on Laundrie:
Laundries hope cause of death confirmation will bring ‘closure’ to two families
FBI confirms human remains belong to Brian Laundrie
And here’s what some commentators online are saying about the parallels between the two cases:
ICYMI: ‘Ethan don’t do it’: Mother’s texts to Michigan shooting suspect revealed as parents charged with manslaughter
The mother of Ethan Crumbley, the 15-year-old boy accused of killing four classmates at his Oxford, Michigan high school, sent him texts warning him not to get caught after the boy was found reading about ammunition on his phone while in class and telling him “don’t so it” after initial reports of shots fired at the school became public.
The Independent’s Graig Graziosi has the details.
The teen’s mother, Jennifer Crumbley, also allegedly laughed off his son being caught reading about ammunition while in class
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