Michigan Attorney General Offers to Help Oxford School District Probe Shooting

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
December 6, 2021 Updated: December 6, 2021

Michigan’s attorney general has reached out to the school district in which a shooting took place last week, offering assistance to authorities in their investigations.

“Our attorneys and special agents are uniquely qualified to perform an investigation of this magnitude and are prepared to perform an extensive investigation and inquiry to answer the many questions the community has regarding this tragedy,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, said in a statement on Sunday.

A student opened fire inside Oxford High School on Nov. 30, leaving four peers dead and seven others wounded.

Authorities say 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley was the shooter, citing video footage and witnesses.

Prosecutors say the boy displayed troubling behavior in the days leading up the shooting, including producing a drawing that appeared to show a person who was shot and the words “The thoughts won’t stop, help me.”

They’ve blamed Ethan’s parents for failing to stop their son from carrying out the attack, alleging Jennifer and James Crumbley should have checked the boy’s backpack after they met with school officials on the morning of the shooting. The parents have been charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter; they pleaded not guilty over the weekend.

Prosecutors have not yet charged any school or district officials.

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said his office would have seized any weapons Ethan had if school officials involved deputies in the process, in addition to ensuring the boy was removed from school until he received counseling.

Oxford High School
Stuffed bears and flowers are gathered at a makeshift memorial outside of Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., on Dec. 1, 2021. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne said in a video that no discipline was warranted for the shooting suspect before the shooting.

Throne delivered an update Saturday, informing the district in a letter that an outside party will investigate the events that led up to the tragedy.

“It’s critically important to the victims, our staff, and our entire community that a full and transparent accounting be made,” Throne said.

The superintendent also offered a defense of not removing Ethan from school, joining prosecutors in casting blame on the boy’s parents.

“When the parents were asked to take their son home for the day, they flatly refused and left without their son, apparently to return to work. Given the fact that the child had no prior disciplinary infractions, the decision was made he would be returned to the classroom rather than sent home to an empty house. These incidents remained at the guidance counselor level and were never elevated to the principal or assistant principal’s office,” he said.

“While we understand this decision has caused anger, confusion, and prompted understandable questioning, the counselors made a judgment based on their professional training and clinical experience and did not have all the facts we now know.”

Throne announced his retirement in October and is set to leave his job on Jan. 1, 2022.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.