Prosecutors in Oakland County, Michigan, and school officials laid out over the weekend what they believe happened leading up to last Tuesday's deadly school shooting at Oxford High School. Student Ethan Crumbley, 15, will be tried as an adult for the murders of four students and related charges, and his parents were taken into custody early Saturday and charged with involuntary manslaughter.
"These two individuals could have stopped it and they had every reason to know that he was dangerous and they gave him a weapon and they didn't secure it and they allowed him free access to it," Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said during Saturday's arraignment hearing. Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley said the gun was secured and accused prosecutors of cherry-picking facts.
The timeline laid out by prosecutors begins with James Crumbley purchasing a Sig Sauer SP2022 9mm handgun with Ethan on Black Friday. Ethan Crumbley posted a photo of the gun on social media over the caption: "Just got my new beauty today." Jennifer Crumbley took Ethan to a gun range the next day, a Saturday, and referred to the handgun as a Christmas present for her son, prosecutors say.
On Monday, Nov. 29, a teacher saw Ethan Crumbley searching ammunition on his cellphone, Oxford Community Schools superintendent Tim Throne told parents and staff members in a letter Saturday. A counselor and staff member met with Ethan and tried to contact his mother but did not hear back. "LOL I'm not mad at you," Jennifer Crumbley then texted her son, according to McDonald. "You have to learn not to get caught."
The next day, hours before the shooting rampage, a teacher saw a drawing by Crumbley of a gun, a bloodied person, a laughing emoji, and words including "Blood everywhere" and "The thoughts won't stop. Help me." Ethan Crumbley, pulled from class, told guidance counselors the drawing was part of a video game he was designing, Throne wrote.
James and Jennifer Crumbley were summoned to the school, asked "specific probing questions" about Ethan's potential to harm himself or others, and told to get him outside counseling within 48 hours or Children's Protective Services would be called, Throne wrote. The parents "flatly refused" to take their son home, and after the counselors determined Ethan wasn't a threat, "the decision was made he would be returned to the classroom rather than sent home to an empty house."
Hours later, shortly after Ethan Crumbley emerged from a bathroom and opened fire in a crowded hallway, prosecutors say, Jennifer Crumbley texted her son: "Ethan, don't do it," and minutes later, James Crumbly called the police to report his gun missing.