Washington, Dec 3 (EFE).- The parents of the adolescent accused of killing four people and wounding seven others in a shooting spree at a high school in the midwestern United States were charged Friday with involuntary homicide.
Ethan Crumbley, 15, was arrested Tuesday by police responding to a report of shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, north of Detroit.
He is to be tried as an adult on four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism, and could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“I have tremendous compassion and empathy for parents who have children who are struggling and at risk for whatever reason,” Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said Friday after announcing the charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley. “But the facts of this are so egregious.”
“I am angry. I’m angry as a mother, as the prosecutor, I’m angry as a person that lives in this county,” she told a news conference.
Explaining her decision to charge the parents, McDonald cited a chronology put together by investigators that show Ethan was present when James Crumbley purchased the weapon used in the shooting, a 9mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 pistol, on Nov. 26 at a gun shop in the area.
Hours later, Ethan posted photos of a gun on social media with the caption: “Just got my new beauty today. SIG SAUER 9mm.” And the following day, Jennifer Crumbley put up a social media post under the title, “mom and son day testing out his new Christmas present.”
On Monday, the day before the shooting, the Oxford High School administration contacted Jennifer Crumbley to inform her that a teacher spotted Ethan using his cell phone to search for ammunition.
The prosecutor said that while Jennifer did not respond to voicemail and email messages from the school, she sent the following text to her son: “LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”
James and Jennifer Crumbley were summoned to the school Tuesday after a teacher found a note on Ethan’s desk with a drawing of a gun, bullet and shooting victim accompanied by the words “blood everywhere” and “the thoughts won’t stop, help me.”
When Ethan and his parents met with school officials, neither James or Jennifer questioned their son about the whereabouts of the gun – which was kept in an unlocked drawer in their bedroom – nor did either parent ask to look inside the teen’s backpack, McDonald said.
The parents “resisted the idea” that Ethan should go home for the day and he returned to class.
Shortly before 1:00 pm, Ethan emerged from a bathroom with the gun in his hand and started shooting, according to police.
“When the news of the active shooter at Oxford High School had been made public, Jennifer Crumbley texted to her son at 1:22 p.m., ‘Ethan, don’t do it,'” McDonald said.
Minutes later, James Crumbley telephoned emergency services to report the gun missing and to say he feared that his son was the shooter at the school.
“I expect parents and everyone to have humanity and to step in and stop a potential tragedy,” McDonald said. “The conclusion I draw is that there was absolute reason to believe this individual was dangerous and disturbed.”
Killed on Tuesday were students Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; and Justin Shilling, 17. A teacher and six other students were wounded. EFE