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Mich. high school latest: Suspect’s parents arrested after manhunt, plead not guilty

Randy Mancini 32 December 4, 2021
A well wisher kneels to pray at a memorial on the sign of Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at the school, killing several students and wounding multiple other people, including a teacher. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

A well wisher kneels to pray at a memorial on the sign of Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at the school, killing several students and wounding multiple other people, including a teacher. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

New details have emerged about the days and hours leading up to a deadly shooting at a Michigan high school. Officials said on the day of the shooting, the parents of suspect Ethan Crumbley, came to the school to meet with teachers about multiple behavioral problems the 15-year-old had recently.

According to Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard, two separate teachers brought up concerns over Crumbley’s behavior in the classroom this week, once on Monday and again on Tuesday, the day of the massacre.

“We have since learned that the schools did have contact with the student the day before and the day of the shooting for behavior in the classroom that they felt was concerning,” said Bouchard.

Bouchard went on to say it’s still unclear what was said during that parent-teacher meeting. In the meantime, prosecutors say there is evidence the shooting was planned, pointing to social media posts and other statements made by Crumbley the night before.

“Judge, a preliminary review of the defendant’s social media accounts, his cell phone, as well as other document evidence recovered on scene, showed that this defendant planned this shooting. He deliberately brought the handgun that day with the intent to murder as many students as he could,” said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Marc Keast. “Judge, I believe no bond is appropriate.”

This booking photo released by the Oakland County, Mich., Sheriff's Office shows Ethan Crumbley, 15, who is charged as an adult with murder and terrorism for a shooting that killed four fellow students and injured more at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., authorities said Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. (Oakland County Sheriff's Office via AP)

This booking photo released by the Oakland County, Mich., Sheriff’s Office shows Ethan Crumbley, 15. (Oakland County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Crumbley, who is accused of killing four teenage classmates and wounding seven others, is being tried as an adult. He is facing 24 charges, including four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, 12 counts of possession of a firearm and one count of terrorism. He is currently being held without bond.

Meanwhile, the boy’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, have also been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors announced the charges on Friday, saying the gun used in Tuesday’s shooting appeared to be “freely available” to 15-year-old Crumbley.

Prosecutors said the parents actions “went far beyond negligence.”

Upon the announcement of their charges, James and Jennifer Crumbley were deemed missing after failing to surrender at 2 p.m. local time. U.S. Marshals took over the search for the two.

The U.S. Marshal Services announced the Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team was working in conjunction with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and FBI in efforts to locate the couple. Police said the parents were considered fugitives, confirming the parents never spoke with their attorneys before their disappearance.

This comes despite an earlier report alleging the couple told their attorneys they left town the night of the shooting for “their own safety.” Officials said the missing parents turned their phones off and withdrew thousands-of-dollars from an ATM.

Sources couldn’t confirm what time the phones were shut off, but added the couple withdrew $4,000 from an ATM about 15-miles away from Oxford sometime on Friday.

James, left, and Jennifer Crumbley are shown during the video arraignment of their son, Ethan Crumbley in Rochester Hills, Mich., on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. A prosecutor filed involuntary manslaughter charges Friday, Dec. 3, 20201 against the Crumbleys whose 15-year-old son is accused of killing four students at a Michigan high school. (AP)

James, left, and Jennifer Crumbley are shown during the video arraignment of their son, Ethan Crumbley in Rochester Hills, Mich., on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. (AP)

On Saturday morning, Detroit Police confirmed both parents were found and taken into custody following a frantic manhunt. In a press conference, Detroit Police Chief James White said James and Jennifer had been arrested on involuntary manslaughter charges.

Chief White said a tip led police to an industrial building where the pair had been hiding after they failed to appear for their arraignment Friday afternoon. The sheriff heading the investigation said he was blindsided Friday, when the county prosecutor held a news conference announcing charges against the suspect’s parents.

“I’ve been sheriff for 21 years, and I’ve never had anyone have a press conference announcing charges before we had the opportunity to have somebody in custody,” said White.

The arrests come after Prosecutor Karen McDonald revealed the circumstances leading up to Tuesday’s deadly shooting and the reasoning behind the involuntary manslaughter charges brought against the Crumbleys.

Since, the couple have been transferred to Oakland County Jail, where their son is also being held on two dozen charges, including murder and terrorism.

US Marshals announce reward, release wanted posters for James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the accused Oxford HS (Michigan) shooter pic.twitter.com/CbtWwdTHuj

— U.S. Marshals (@USMarshalsHQ) December 4, 2021

This comes as 17-year-old Justin Shilling passed away at the hospital Wednesday morning, after being shot at Oxford High School near Detroit on Tuesday. Authorities have identified 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin, 16-year-old Tate Myre and 14-year-old Hana Juliana as the other victims who died in the shooting.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer expressed her condolences to the victims and their families.

“My heart, like any mom or dad in Michigan, is with the parents of Oxford. We all hugged our kids a little tighter yesterday. I know that a lot of us love this time of year when it’s time to gather with family and friends to celebrate for the holidays. For the Oxford community especially, this holiday season will be different. We all have to be there for them in every way that we can, to help them be strong and lift their spirits through our actions,” said Whitmer.

During a press conference Tuesday, Oakland County Sheriff Bouchard confirmed eight others, including a teacher and Shilling, were injured.

The shooting happened Tuesday afternoon at Oxford High School in Oakland County, which is about 30-miles north of Detroit. Of the eight injured, three now remain in critical condition, three are in stable condition with various gunshot wounds and the teacher who was shot has been discharged.

According to preliminary information, the weapon used in the shooting was purchased just last week by the boy’s father. However, his parents have hired an attorney and have not allowed their son to speak to police.

Prosecutors revealed Jennifer Crumbley texted her son once they were notified of the shooting and noticed the weapon was missing.

“When the news of the active shooter at Oxford High School had been made public, Jennifer Crumbley texted to her son at 1:22 p.m. ‘Ethan, don’t do it’. At 1:37 p.m., James Crumbley called 911, reporting that a gun was missing from his house, and he believed his son may be the shooter,” said McDonald.

As the search continues, Bouchard went on to commend his team and the county’s active shooter training while crediting it for saving other lives.

“I’m extremely proud of the deputies, our partners, the fire department and EMTs for their intervening actions,” he stated. “As I mentioned, I believe they literally saved lives having taken down the suspect with a loaded firearm still in the building.”

Students attend a vigil at LakePoint Community Church in Oxford, Mich., Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. Authorities say a 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at Oxford High School, killing several students and wounding multiple other people, including a teacher. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Students attend a vigil at LakePoint Community Church in Oxford, Mich., Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. Authorities say a 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at Oxford High School, killing several students and wounding multiple other people, including a teacher. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

A motive for the shooting remains unclear. Meanwhile, a number of vigils were held across the Oxford community Tuesday night following the shooting.

The community also joined for a vigil on Friday, in honor of the students killed. It started with church bells ringing for four minutes, one minute for each of the four victims.

The crowd held candles as a group sang in their honor. Several Michigan leaders were in attendance, including Gov. Whitmer, who said “we’ve seen the best in our kids. We are stronger than we could have ever imagined.”

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