James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of alleged Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each, according to Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald.
During a press conference, McDonald revealed the charges and walked the press through the reasons why her office has decided to charge the parents. She told reporters that there is enough evidence that the parents had reason to be concerned about their son but chose not to do anything about it.
During the investigation, evidence has come to light is that Ethan Crumbley was with his father when the gun used in the shooting was purchased on November 26.
McDonald also noted there were multiple social media posts made by the Crumbleys concerning the gun, most notably one made by Ethan. In one, he said, with the weapon used in the shooting, "Now I become death – destroyer of worlds – see you tomorrow Oxford."
Jennifer also posted on social media about her son's new gun. She said in one post that they were having a "mom and son day" and testing out his "Christmas present."
Ethan's parents were contacted by the school multiple times in the days leading up to the shooting. On the day before the shooting, November 29, school officials tried to contact Jennifer via a phone call and an email to tell her about her son searching for ammunition on his cell phone during class. According to McDonald, they left a voicemail but did not hear back from her.
Later she texted her son about the incident and said, "LOL, I'm not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught."
On the morning of the shooting, Jennifer and James were called to the school again. This time a teacher found a disturbing drawing. It included words like "the thoughts won't stop, help me," "blood everywhere, and "my life is useless." Pictures of bullets and blood surrounded the words.
The teacher snapped a picture of it and informed the school's administration.
During the meeting, Jennifer and James were told about the picture. Ethan was called into the meeting with his parents; he had altered the picture by that time. Before they left, the administration informed the Crumbleys that they were required to get their son into counseling within 48 hours.
Jennifer and James "resisted" taking their son home with them when they left the school.
He was allowed to go back to class after that meeting. Prosecutor McDonald emphasized that she was not blaming the administration for what happened, but she did say that Ethan should not have been allowed back in the classroom.
She also did not rule out charging school officials.
Are the parents responsible?
McDonald does blame Jennifer and James Crumbley, however. Of concern to her is the fact that neither parent asked about the gun. Nor did they check his backpack to see if it was in there. She emphasized that gun ownership is a right in the United States, but that right comes with great responsibility.
The prosecutor did not rule out charging school officials with criminal negligence, indicating that the investigation was ongoing. McDonald also revealed new details about the Crumbleys' actions after the meeting.
At 1:22 pm, the day of the shooting, Jennifer texted her son, "Ethan, don't do it."
10 minutes after that message was sent, James went to their home and called 911. He reportedly told the operator that a gun was missing from their home; it had been stored in an unlocked drawer.
Ethan was already in custody when his parents communicated with the police and him.
Jennifer and James Crumbley are expected to be arraigned on December 3, 2021, at 4 pm eastern time.
Ethan Crumbley has been charged with four counts of 1st-degree murder, one count of terrorism, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Update: A Be On The Look Out alert has been issued for Jennifer and James Crumbley according to several reports.
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