Monday, February 6, 2023

Michigan suspect’s parents found hiding at home, chief said

PONTIAC, Michigan (AP) – Parents of a teenager accused of killing four students in a shootout at Oxford High School were found hiding in a Detroit building early Saturday morning, hours after an attorney charged them with manslaughter, said officials.

James and Jennifer Crumbley were hijacked in a commercial building that housed artwork, Detroit Police Chief James White told a news conference.

Crumbly’s lawyer, Shannon Smith, said Friday that the couple left town earlier in the week “for their own safety” and would return to Oxford to face charges. But White seemed to reject the possibility that this was their intention.

“That doesn’t mean you gave up — you were hiding in a warehouse,” White said.

White said the couple were “helped into the building” and that the person who helped them could face charges as well.

A Detroit business owner spotted a car tethered to Crumbley in his parking lot late Friday night, Oakland County Sheriff Junior Sheriff Michael McCabe said in a statement. According to McCabe, the woman who was seen near the car ran away when the business owner called the emergency services. The couple were later discovered and arrested by Detroit police.

He added that the parents were “upset” when they were captured.

“Head down … just really upset,” he said of one of the parents.

On Friday, the attorney charged Crumbley with manslaughter, accusing them of not intervening on the day of the tragedy, despite the fact that a drawing and a frightening message – “blood everywhere” was found on the boy’s table.

People Attend A Downtown Vigil To Commemorate Those Killed And Injured In The Recent Oxford High School Shooting On December 3, 2021 In Oxford, Michigan.
People attend a downtown vigil to commemorate those killed and injured in the recent Oxford High School shooting on December 3, 2021 in Oxford, Michigan.

Scott Olson via Getty Images

According to Oakland County Attorney Karen McDonald, the Crumbley took “egregious” actions, from buying a gun on Black Friday and giving it to Ethan Crumbley to resisting his expulsion from school when they were called hours before the shooting.

Authorities have been looking for the couple since Friday afternoon. Late Friday night, US marshals announced bounties of up to $ 10,000 each for information leading to their arrests.

The couple are expected to be taken to the Oakland County Jail, McCabe said.

The prosecutor previously provided the most accurate account to date of the events leading to the shooting at Oxford High School, about 30 miles (50 km) north of Detroit.

Investigators said 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley came out of the bathroom with a pistol, shooting at students in the hallway. He is charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes.

Under Michigan law, a parental manslaughter charge can be brought if the authorities believe someone has contributed to a situation that is likely to cause harm or death.

Parents in the United States are rarely accused of school shooting involving their children, experts say, even though most minors receive guns at their parents ‘or relatives’ homes.

School officials worried about Crumbly Jr. on Monday, the day before the shooting, when a teacher saw him looking for ammunition on his phone, MacDonald said.

Jennifer Crumbley was contacted and subsequently told her son in a text message, “Lol. I’m not angry with you. We must learn not to get caught, ”the prosecutor said.

On Tuesday, the teacher found a note on Ethan’s desk and took a picture. It was a drawing of a pistol, pointing to the words: “Thoughts do not stop. Help me, said MacDonald.

There was also a drawing of a bullet with the words above it: “There is blood everywhere,” she said.

Between the pistol and the bullet was a man who seemed to have been wounded twice and was bleeding to death. According to the prosecutor, he also wrote: “My life is useless” and “The world is dead.”

McDonald said the school quickly met with Ethan and his parents, who were told to consult with him within 48 hours.

The Crumbleys were unable to ask their son about the gun or check his backpack and “resisted the idea that their son would drop out of school at that time,” MacDonald said.

Instead, the teenager returned to class, and there was a subsequent shooting.

“The idea that a parent could read these words and also know that their son had access to the deadly weapon they gave him is shameless — that’s a crime,” the prosecutor said.

Jennifer Crumbley wrote to her son after the shooting, saying, “Ethan, don’t do this,” MacDonald said.

James Crumbley called 911 to say that a pistol was missing from their house and that Ethan might have fired. According to MacDonald, the gun was kept in an unlocked drawer in his parents’ bedroom.

Ethan accompanied his father when shopping for weapons on November 26 and posted pictures of the firearms on social media, saying, “Just bought my new beauty today,” MacDonald said.

During a long Thanksgiving weekend, Jennifer Crumbley wrote on social media that it was “mom and son day checking out his new Christmas present,” the attorney said.

When asked at a press conference whether the father could be accused of buying a pistol for his son, MacDonald replied that it would be a decision of the federal authorities.

In a video message to the community on Thursday, the head of Oxford Community Schools said the high school looks like a “war zone” and won’t be ready in the coming weeks. Superintendent Tim Tron has repeatedly praised students and staff for their response to the violence.

He also noted the meeting between Crumbley, parents and school officials. The throne did not provide details, but summarized them by saying, “No discipline was required.”

MacDonald was asked about the decision to keep Crumbley at school.

“Of course he shouldn’t have gone back to that class. … I think this is a universal position. I’m not going to punish or attack, but yes, ”she said.

Asked if school officials could be charged, MacDonald said, “The investigation is ongoing.”

White reported from Detroit. Associated Press reporter Mike Householder of Detroit and David Eggert of Lansing, Michigan also contributed to this report.

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