The parents of 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, who is accused of shooting his classmates at Oxford High School, may also be charged, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said as she announced the charges against the teenager.
“We are considering charges against both parents and we will be making a decision swiftly,” the prosecutor told reporters on Wednesday.
“If the incident yesterday, with four children being murdered and multiple kids being injured is not enough to revisit our gun laws – I don’t know what is,” she said. “I’m a parent, there are parents here. There are parents listening. We need to make sure ... that when we send our kids to school, they’re safe.”
“Responsible gun ownership is imperative. It’s critical,” she added during the press briefing.
The father of the suspect had bought the gun used during the shooting, a semi-automatic 9mm Sig Sauer handgun, four days prior to the attack, according to authorities.
“We know that owning a gun means securing it properly and locking it and keeping the ammunition separate and not allowing access to other individuals, particularly minors,” Ms McDonald said. “We know that and we have to hold individuals accountable who don’t do that.”
“Hopefully, we’re going to start a long going conversation and move the needle on appropriate gun control,” the prosecutor added.
Mr Crumbley is accused of killing four students and wounding seven others, including a teacher.
Ms McDonald said on Wednesday that Mr Crumbley will be 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 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard expressed his support for the charges against the suspect and said any possible criminal acts committed by the parents are still to be determined. The sheriff added that the parents and the suspect have retained an attorney.
Lawyer Scott Kozak, who represented Mr Crumbley in a virtual hearing on Wednesday, has said he won’t be involved in the case from now on. He also declined to comment on the hearing, the Detriot Free Press reported.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, told the paper on Wednesday that the state’s laws are unclear on how to hold an adult accountable if a minor has used that adult’s firearm while committing a crime.
She added that she believes that the state legislature needs to change the law and that prosecutors have previously used a number of charges against adults.
“We don’t have specific laws on the books that speak to that like they have in other states,” Ms Nessel told the Detriot Free Press.
“Theoretically, if you had a case where you had a teenager who had demonstrated some sort of instability, mentally or suicidal or homicidal thoughts or actions, or anything to that extent, and in addition to that you still allowed this child to have unfettered access to a weapon, then theoretically I don’t think it would be a huge stretch to charge the parents with involuntary manslaughter under those circumstances,” she added, stressing that she wasn’t saying that this applies in the case of the Oxford High School shooting, but that it could be a possible charge.
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