UPDATE: James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley have both been reported missing after failing to show up for a court appearance at 4 p.m. According to the Sheriff’s Office, a fugitive task force is currently “on the lookout” for the parents of the Oxford school shooting suspect.
James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of the Oxford school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter on Friday in connection to their 15-year-old son’s availability to a firearm.
The couple allegedly purchased a gun for the teenager days before the shooting, which also came a day after they met with the school to have a disciplinary meeting about their son’s behavior.
“I want to be really clear that these charges are meant to hold the individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable and also send a message that gun owners have a responsibility,” said Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald at a press conference on Friday. “When they fail to uphold that responsibility, there are serious and criminal consequences.”
Ethan Crumbley’s parents also told their son never to speak with authorities and were uncooperative with investigators as well, even after being informed of the horrific Michigan school shooting.
Held without bail on charges of murder and terrorism, Ethan Crumbley refused to talk to authorities as he was being apprehended. He shot 11 people, killing four and injuring another seven.
On Black Friday, James Crumbley bought the gun for his son, who is a minor, just four days before the Oxford shooting. The semi-automatic 9mm Sig Sauer handgun sale matched the gun used in the Oxford school shooting, even appearing in Ethan’s Instagram posts.
The student allegedly bragged that the gun was “freely available” in their home and even spent time with his mom firing it. Posting on her personal Instagram, Jennifer Crumbley wrote that it was, “mom and son day testing out his new xmas present,” posting a photo of the two and the gun.
Reckless with gun safety, the parents unknowingly let Ethan bring the firearm in his backpack while driving him to school the day of the shooting, as well as during the “disciplinary” talk that they had with school officials. The school reportedly wanted to report “disturbing” behavior, where a counseling session mentioned unspecified yet “concerning” activity at the school.
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald later stated that teachers found drawings of the gun on Ethan Crumbley’s desk next to the words “the thoughts won’t stop, help me.”
There was also a drawing of someone shot and bleeding on the ground, which read “blood everywhere..my life is useless, the world is dead.”
Though Crumbley was believed to be bullied at the school, McDonald stated that she believed the “actions on mom and dad’s behalf go far beyond negligence.”
“You have a right to possess a gun, but with it comes responsibility,” she said at a press conference following the suspect’s charges. “Allowing it in the hands of somebody that shows signs that they may hurt somebody is not OK, and those people should be held accountable.”
The suspect’s parents also allegedly refused to drive their son home after the meeting at the school.
“Any individual who had the opportunity to stop this tragedy should have done so. The question is what did they know and when did they know it,” McDonald said. “The notion that a parent could read those words and also have access to a deadly weapon that they gave him… it is criminal.”
Even without the shooting, Sheriff Michael Bouchard explained at a press briefer that it was illegal for anyone at the age of 15 to have possession of handgun, “so if they participated in that, that’s clearly a crime.”
In a journal confiscated by police, Ethan Crumbley reportedly wrote about the school shooting in detail, planning his desire to “shoot up the school.”
According to the New York Post, it was the deadliest school shooting of the year.