The parents didn't ask their son if he had the gun on him, despite being called to school after a teacher found a gory note in his belongings.
Trigger Warning: This story mentions gun violence that may be disturbing to readers.
The parents of the 15-year-old boy, who went on a shooting spree in a Michigan school that killed four and injured seven others, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter. State prosecutors charged the couple on December 3, 2021, for buying their son the weapon as a Christmas gift and ignoring warning signs as late as the day of the shooting.
According to The New York Times, the gun was an early Christmas present to Ethan from his parents. “My new beauty,” he called the gun. He went with his father to get the gun the day after Thanksgiving.
When a teacher reported seeing her son searching for ammunition on his phone during class, it did not alarm his mother, Jennifer Crumbley. Instead, she wrote in a text message to her son, "LOL, I'm not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught," per Reuters.
BREAKING: Authorities detail reasons behind decision to charge parents with multiple counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection to Michigan high school shooting. https://t.co/UO3yJOVJx2 pic.twitter.com/t2aVx2oc5u— ABC News (@ABC) December 3, 2021
A day later, on the morning of the shooting, a teacher discovered a drawing that Ethan Crumbley had made depicting a handgun, a bullet, and a bleeding figure, with the words "Blood everywhere" and "The thoughts won't stop - help me." Once the note was discovered, Jennifer and James Crumbley were summoned to the school to show them, but they didn't take their son home, search his backpack, or even ask about the gun, added prosecutors. He was even allowed back into class.
But a few hours after that, his words turned into actions, when, at 12:50 p.m., he walked into a bathroom carrying his backpack, emerged with the handgun, and began to fire. At 1:22 p.m., as news of the shooting tore through Oxford, prosecutors said, Jennifer Crumbley texted her son: “Ethan, don’t do it.” But by then, it was too late. 15 minutes after that, the father called 911, informing them that Ethan could have been the possible shooter since the gun was missing.
The gunman fired more than 30 rounds before he was apprehended. He has been charged with terrorism and first-degree murder in the deaths of Tate Myre, 16; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Justin Shilling, 17; and Hana St. Juliana, 14. Seven other people were wounded.
The Michigan school shooting suspect's parents plead not guilty on all counts https://t.co/REZwUSOOff— CNN (@CNN) December 4, 2021
District Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced that both parents face four counts of manslaughter each. However, they have both pleaded not guilty to the charges, adds The Hill.
“While the shooter was the individual who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there were other individuals who contributed to the events on Nov. 30 and it’s my intention to hold them accountable as well,” said Ms. McDonald, according to Vice.
Ms. McDonald also said, “I’m angry as a mother, I’m angry as a prosecutor, I’m angry as a person that lives in this county, I’m angry,”. She went on to add. “There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent.” Ms. McDonald went on to say, “The notion that a parent could read those words and also know their son had access to a deadly weapon, that they gave him, is unconscionable, and I think it’s criminal,” per The New York Times.
Oxford High School has also come under scrutiny, particularly for possibly downplaying warning signs. McDonald said, “Of course he should not have gone back to the classroom” following the meeting with his parents and school.
The Michigan school shooting was the 29th this year in the United States.— TheSadTruth💙 (@ReportsDaNews) December 1, 2021
Canada has had 19 school shootings in 153 years.
In a 12-minute video, Tim Throne, the superintendent of Oxford Community Schools, confirmed the meeting happened and defended the school against charges of negligence. “I want you to know that there’s been a lot of talk about the student who was apprehended, that he was called up to the office, and all that kind of stuff. No discipline was warranted,” Throne said. “There are no discipline records at the high school.”
Meanwhile, McDonald shared that some of the injured students are now recovering. “While the physical wounds of the victims are starting to heal, the emotional wounds to the victims, students, and the entire community will last for years,” she added.
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