In a Friday news conference, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald made the revelation that Jennifer Crumbley texted her 15-year-old son at 1:22 p.m. About 15 minutes later, she said, the boy’s father, James Crumbley, called 911 to say his gun went missing.
The father told the 911 operator that the shooter may have been his son, according to McDonald.
James and Jennifer Crumbley were charged on Friday with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the deaths of Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; and Justin Shilling, 17, at Oxford High School on Tuesday. Ethan Crumbley was already being held without bail on murder and terrorism charges
“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,” McDonald said at a Friday presser. “When they fail to uphold that responsibility, there are serious and criminal consequences.”
McDonald said James Crumbley purchased a 9mm Sig Sauer handgun that his son allegedly used just four days earlier. Jennifer Crumbley also posted a photo online about using the firearm, writing: “Mom and son day testing out his new xmas present.”
But officials said that his parents were alerted on Tuesday—the same day as the shooting—by teachers after they saw a disturbing drawing on Crumbley’s desk. They included a picture of a handgun pointed at the words, “The thoughts won’t stop, help me.” Another photo showed a person shot and bleeding with the text, “My life is useless … the world is dead.”
School officials on that day called a parent-teacher conference in which the Oxford school authorities showed Ethan’s parents the drawings, telling them to get their son counseling within the next 48 hours. They asked the parents to remove the teen from class that day, according to prosecutors, and the parents didn’t want him to be removed.
McDonald asked why the teen was allowed to return to class. She also said that the parents did not check whether Ethan had a gun in his backpack.
“I’m not going to give you a political answer, and I’m not going to cover for anybody,” McDonald said. “But, of course, he should not have been allowed to go back to that class. I believe that is a universal position. I’m not going to chastise or attack.”
Hours later, the teen allegedly carried out the shootings, she said.
Last month, an Oxford High School teacher said Ethan was discovered searching for ammunition on his phone. The school reached out to the parents but never got a response, McDonald said.
On Friday, authorities were still searching for James and Jennifer Crumbley after a prosecutor issued involuntary manslaughter charges against them. Officials released a “be on the lookout” alert at 3 p.m. Friday.