The sheriff of Michigan’s Oakland County said that his office would have taken action if Oxford High School officials included resource officers in meetings with the parents of an alleged 15-year-old school shooter that left four people dead last week.
Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, responding to a statement from Oxford school superintendent Tim Throne that the school hadn’t reached the point where it would discipline alleged gunman Ethan Crumbley, said that resource officers should be been involved.
“In terms of school discipline, he may be right, but at the point—and certainly in the second meeting in the second day … we would have very much wanted our school resource officer in on that meeting,” the sheriff told local media last week.
The officer “would have taken protocols we have in place to have [the suspect] removed from the school until action has happened. For example, the school told him he had to be in counseling, we would have had him removed from school until that happened,” Bouchard said.
Bouchard added that his office also would have “made sure [the shooting suspect] had no access to weapons.”
The comments come as the parents of Crumbley, Jennifer and James Crumbley, were arrested and charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Their son is already being held on four counts of homicide and other charges.
Defense attorneys for the Crumbleys still argued Saturday that the parents never intended to flee and had made plans to meet their lawyers early that morning. Attorney Shannon Smith accused prosecutors of “cherry-picking” facts to release publicly, including the accusation that their teenage son had unrestricted access to the handgun prosecutors say his father purchased for him days before the shooting.
“Our clients are just as devastated as everyone else,” Smith said, adding that the gun allegedly involved in the shooting “was locked.” She didn’t provide more detail during Saturday’s hearing.
In a written statement released Saturday, Throne detailed the first meeting with a counselor and a staff member when Crumbley said shooting sports were a hobby for his family.
During a subsequent meeting with guidance counselors, Crumbley claimed violent drawings that his teacher discovered were part of a video game design and said he wanted to pursue a career in that field, the letter said.
Crumbley was calm and worked on homework while staff tried to reach his parents and they traveled to the school, Thorne said. Hours later, Crumbley allegedly shot his classmates, prosecutors said.
After the meeting with school officials last week, Crumbley “shouldn’t have gone back to that classroom. … I believe that is a universal position,” prosecutor Karen McDonald said last week at a news conference.
When asked if school officials could be charged, McDonald said that “the investigation is ongoing.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.