The school district where last week’s mass shooting left four students dead and seven other people injured has turned down an offer from the Michigan attorney general to investigate the events leading up to the massacre.
Michigan AG Dana Nessel said in a statement late on Monday that she was “extremely disappointed” that Oxford Community Schools had decided not to allow her office to conduct the third-party investigation into the shooting at Oxford High School.
Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Thorne announced in a letter sent to parents on Saturday that a third-party investigation had been launched into the district’s handling of the events prior to suspected teenage gunman Ethan Crumbley opening fire inside his high school on 30 November.
On Sunday morning, DA Nessel said in a series of tweets that she had reached out to the attorneys for the district offering for her department to carry out the probe.
“We have reached out to the attorney for the Oxford Community School District and have offered the services of the Michigan Department of Attorney General to conduct a full and comprehensive review of the 11/30/21 shooting and the events leading up to it,” she tweeted.
But, on Monday, the DA said her offer had been rejected by district officials.
“I am extremely disappointed that the school district chose to decline my offer to devote the full resources of the Department of Attorney General to review the events leading up to and on November 30th,” said DA Nessel in a statement.
“This tragedy demands a united effort from all of us who serve the Oxford community.”
Despite the decision from the district, the DA said her department “will continue to support the ongoing criminal investigation in Oakland County and looks forward to meeting with parents, students and teachers when they are ready to share their thoughts”.
She added: “To that end, we also remain committed to evaluating opportunities for our department to ensure that students in Oxford - and across Michigan - receive the protection they deserve and that guns are kept out of our schools.”
The district has not revealed the identity of the third party tapped to carry out the probe.
However, it comes as school officials are coming under increased scrutiny after it emerged that the 15-year-old accused shooter was sent back to class just hours before he shot dead his fellow students - despite several red flags about his “troubling” behaviour.
Prosecutors revealed last week that, the day before the shooting, Ethan was caught looking up ammunition on his phone during a class.
The teenager was sent to meet with a school counsellor that day - the first of two meetings with staff in the days prior to the mass shooting - and school staff attempted, without success, to contact his parents about the incident.
The following day - the morning of the shooting - a teacher then found Ethan with a disturbing drawing of a gun, a bullet, a shooting victim and a laughing emoji, according to prosecutors.
The words “thoughts won’t stop, help me”, “the world is dead” and “my life is useless” were scrawled on the note.
Mr Thorne said in Saturday’s letter that the 15-year-old told school staff and counsellors the drawings were for a video game he was designing.
Ethan’s parents James and Jennifer Crumbley were called into the school and were asked to take their son home but “refused” to do so, he said.
The teenager returned to the classroom and hours later allegedly carried out the worst school shooting in America since 2018.
Despite concerns, school officials had failed to search his backpack or locker.
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said Ethan had the gun in his possession at the school during that meeting and that officials had the legal right to carry out a search of his belongings.
Ms McDonald has not ruled out bringing criminal charges against school officials in connection to the massacre.
Ethan was arrested at the scene of the shooting and has been charged as an adult with 24 counts, including one count of terrorism and four counts of first-degree murder.
His parents are now also behind bars after Ms McDonald charged them with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each on Friday.
The Crumbleys allegedly bought their son the firearm used in the mass shooting on Black Friday as an early Christmas present.
The parents appeared to go on the run after the charges were filed, failing to show for their arraignment on Friday before they were arrested hiding inside an art studio in Detroit - close to the Canadian border.
Charges may now also be brought against artist Andrzej Sikora who authorities said aided the couple in holing up inside the commercial building.
The Crumbleys are all being held in Oakland County Jail.
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