The parents of a Michigan 15-year-old who shot and killed four classmates and wounded three others during a rampage at his high school last week will face involuntary manslaughter charges after prosecutors revealed text messages they sent to their son before and after the shooting.
James and Jennifer Crumbley will be charged in the shooting at Oxford High School along with their son Ethan because they allegedly bought the firearm for their son and gave him ready access to it before the shooting massacre, according to store records and social media posts, Fox News reports.
“While the shooter was the one who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there are other individuals who contributed to the events on Nov. 30 and it is my intention to hold them accountable as well,” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald told reporters during a press conference. “It’s imperative we prevent this from happening again. No other parent or community should have to live through this nightmare.”
A teacher reportedly noticed Ethan searching for ammunition on his phone and reported it to the school in the weeks leading up to the school shooting. The school contacted his parents as a result, but the parents reportedly did not respond.
Parental and school failures
Text messages at the time showed that Jennifer Crumbley texted Ethan saying she was “not mad” at him for searching for ammo, and added, “you have to learn not to get caught.”
In addition, the parents refused to take their son out of school the morning of the shooting after a teacher discovered a note written and drawn by Ethan depicting a person shot twice and the phrases “the thoughts won’t stop, help me,” “blood everywhere,” “my life is useless,” and “the world is dead.”
After discovering the disturbing note, school administrators met with the parents about Ethan’s behavior and demanded he receive counseling within 48 hours, but the parents refused to take him out of school, and ultimately left the school without him.
It is unclear why the school did not search Ethan’s locker and belongings at that point, or why they did not have him removed from the school by police or other means.
“Don’t do it”
Back in the classroom, Ethan opened fire on his fellow students a few hours after the parental meeting. After news of the shooting became public, Jennifer Crumbly texted him, “Ethan, don’t do it.”
Fifteen minutes after her text, James Crumbly called 911 and reported the handgun missing. The gun was found to be a match to the one Ethan used in the shooting.
An ongoing investigation later revealed that the gun had been stored in an unlocked drawer in the parents’ bedroom.
When Ethan was arrested at the school, he still had a number of live rounds in the handgun, police said.