The parents of the alleged Oxford High School shooter “resisted the idea” of removing their son from school hours before the shooting occurred, according to the county prosecutor.
During a press conference on Friday, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald explained that on the morning of the shooting, which occurred on Tuesday, the alleged shooter, Ethan Crumbley, and his parents were summoned to a meeting with a school counselor. The meeting was prompted by a teacher who discovered several drawings on Crumbley’s desk that alarmed her “to the point that she took a picture of it on her cell phone.”
According to McDonald, the drawings that were found on Crumbley’s desk contained a semi-automatic handgun pointing at the words “the thoughts won’t stop help me.” Another part of the drawings contained a bullet and the words “blood everywhere,” and between the drawing of the gun and the bullet, “is a drawing of a person who appears to have been shot twice and bleeding,” McDonald said.
“Below that figure is a drawing of a laughing emoji,” McDonald added.
After the drawings were found, Crumbley’s parents, James and Jennifer, were “immediately summoned” to the school to discuss the drawings with a counselor. The counselor was able to obtain Crumbley’s drawings but they were altered and scratched out, McDonald said.
“At the meeting, James and Jennifer Crumbley were shown the drawing and were advised that they were required to get their son into counseling within 48 hours. Both James and Jennifer Crumbley failed to ask their son if he had his gun with him or where his gun was located and failed to inspect his backpack for the presence of the gun, which he had with him,” McDonald said.
McDonald continued, “James and Jennifer Crumbley resisted the idea of their son leaving the school at that time. Instead, James and Jennifer Crumbley left the high school without their son. He was returned to the classroom.”
Just a few hours after the meeting, Crumbley allegedly obtained a gun, which was described as a SIG Sauer semi-automatic handgun, from his backpack and fatally shot four classmates at the high school.
McDonald also said that at around 1:22 p.m. local time on Tuesday, shortly after news of the school shooting was made public, investigations revealed that Jennifer Crumbley texted her son saying “Ethan, don’t do it.”
James Crumbley then called the police and told them that a gun was missing from his house. “He believed his son may be the shooter,” McDonald said.
A few days before the shooting, a teacher noticed Crumbley searching for ammunition on his cellphone. The incident was reported to school officials who then alerted Crumbley’s parents via email and voicemail but did not receive a response from either Jennifer or James.
“Thereafter, Jennifer Crumbley exchanged text messages about the incident with her son on that day, stating ‘lol, I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught,'” McDonald said during the press conference.
Crumbley has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder as well as terrorism, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
On Friday, McDonald announced that her office was also filing involuntary manslaughter charges against Crumbley’s parents.
“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 November 30 and it’s my intention to hold them accountable as well,” McDonald said. “Gun ownership is a right and with that right comes great responsibility.”