Michigan Gunman’s Parents Had Been Called Into School on Morning of Shooting



Rochester Hills District Court

Rochester Hills District Court

The shooter who allegedly killed four students and injured seven, including a teacher, at Michigan’s Oxford High School on Tuesday was previously flagged by administrators for “behavior in the classroom that they felt was concerning,” Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said Wednesday.

Authorities have identified the suspect as 15-year-old sophomore Ethan Crumbley. His parents had been brought into the school the morning of the shooting for a face-to-face meeting about their son’s behavior, according to Bouchard. He would not disclose what the behavior was, and police weren’t informed about any potential issues prior to the tragic event.

Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said that Crumbley, who was arraigned late Wednesday afternoon via video with his parents on the line, has been charged as an adult with one count of terrorism, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm. More charges may be added later, she said.

McDonald said evidence shows Crumbley started planning the attack “well before the incident.”

“This isn’t even a close call,” she said. “This was absolutely premeditated.”

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Ethan Crumbley’s parents appeared virtually at their son’s arraignment on Wednesday.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Rochester Hills District Court</div>

Ethan Crumbley’s parents appeared virtually at their son’s arraignment on Wednesday.

Rochester Hills District Court

McDonald said her office is weighing charging both of Crumbley’s parents, too. “There is a mountain of digital evidence… we are confident that we can show there was premeditation,” she said.

Crumbley was taken into custody without putting up a fight about five minutes after the attack began on Tuesday, Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe. He surrendered a semi-automatic 9mm Sig Sauer handgun, purchased by the boy’s father just four days ago, on Black Friday, McCabe said.

Bouchard said footage showed Crumbley walking out of a bathroom before opening fire on victims randomly and at close range.

“Witnesses said he was tugging on doors,” he said Wednesday. “We know from visible evidence he shot through doors.”

Fourth Student Dies After Shooting Rampage at Michigan High School

There were “one or two” private security guards working at the school on Tuesday, he added, and 911 operators fielded more than 100 calls as gunfire erupted and students hid in classrooms and tried to jump out of first-floor windows. Investigators believe Crumbley was preparing to shoot more students before being apprehended. Police found two 15-round clips and believe he may have had a third somewhere.

Crumbley, whose social media accounts were removed by Wednesday morning, was fairly active on YouTube as a young boy. On one account in his father’s name, he posted numerous videos of himself playing games such as Call of Duty, as well as shooting hoops with friends. He is said to have flaunted the newly purchased handgun in some now-deleted posts.

Nathan Swanson, a 10th grader who was in some middle school classes with Crumbley, told The Daily Beast that he was “really quiet, he would never talk to people.”

“He wore all black, I believe he was really into hunting,” Swanson said.

In 2017, Crumbley spoke to a local newspaper about a school project he was working on with four of his classmates. The group worked with a nonprofit in town called Blessings in a Backpack, which fills backpacks with food and distributes them to “at risk” kids.

No information about a possible motive has yet been released by authorities, although some have speculated that Crumbley was bullied in school. (Bouchard said investigators have not obtained any evidence showing Crumbley had been bullied.) Crumbley and his parents quickly invoked their right to remain silent and retained a lawyer after the shooting, McCabe said.

The boy’s father, James Crumbley, 45, has worked as a tech salesman and recently ran into legal trouble in Florida regarding child support payments.

His mother, Jennifer Crumbley, 43, worked as a real estate broker in the Oxford area, but her staff bio has now been taken down. Although James’ online presence demonstrates a preference for the Seattle Seahawks, his posts were not overtly political.

Jennifer, however, in November 2016, penned an open letter to President-Elect Donald Trump, which she posted on her blog.

“Mr. Trump, I actually love that you are a bad public speaker because that showed sincerity, and humility,” she wrote. “You changed your mind, and you said ‘so what.’ You made the famous ‘grab them in the pussy’ comment, did it offend me? No. I say things all the time that people take the wrong way, do I mean them, not always. Do I agree that you should of [sic] shown your tax returns? No. I don’t care what you do or maybe don’t pay in taxes, I think those are personal and if the Gov’t can lock someone up over $10,000 of unpaid taxes and you slipped on by, then that shows the corruption.”

Crumbley went on to tell Trump that she hoped he would “really uncover the politicians for what I believe they really are,” and that he might “shut down Big Pharma, make health care affordable for me and my MIDDLE CLASS family again.” She was in favor of Trump’s long-promised border wall, and noted that she was “not racist” because her grandfather “came straight off the boat in Italy.”

“As a female and a Realtor, thank you for allowing my right to bear arms,” the letter continued. “Allowing me to be protected if I show a home to someone with bad intentions. Thank you for respecting that Amendment.”

She complained about parents at other schools where the “kids come from illegal immigrant parents,” and “don’t care about learning.”

It was signed, “A hard working Middle Class Law Abiding Citizen who is sick of getting fucked in the ass and would rather be grabbed by the pussy.”

‘It All Seemed Like a Movie’: Inside the Terrifying Shooting at Oxford High School

Explaining why Crumbley is facing terrorism charges, McDonald said, “What about all the children at home right now who can’t eat, can’t sleep and can’t imagine a world where they ever step back in that school? Those are victims too, and so are their families and the community, and the charge of terrorism reflects that.”

She added that it was time to get serious about gun safety in the United States.

“If the incident yesterday with four children being murdered and multiple kids being injured is not enough to revisit our gun laws, I don’t know what is.”

The senseless shooting left the community reeling, and some restaurants closed in the aftermath to give their employees time to collect themselves.

“If you weren’t hit by a bullet, [it] doesn’t mean you weren’t terrorized that day and will have nightmares about the rest of your life, whether you’re a parent, a teacher, or a student,” Bouchard said Wednesday.

“Going through that building in the wee hours of this morning, looking at disarray in the classrooms and the backpacks strewn across the floor, that had to have been an absolutely terrorizing moment in anyone’s life. I don’t care if you’re an adult or child.”

Ceree Morris, whose two kids attend Oxford High School, told The Daily Beast that her younger son knew Crumbley and “was shocked” to learn his identity.

“My younger son went to school with the suspect, since elementary. Was not friends with him, but knew him,” Morris said. “Honestly, my son didn’t expect any Oxford students to ever do this.”

She described the community as tight-knit and very supportive. “Always come together right. Always had that hometown welcoming feeling. Always felt safe and at ease. I want to know so bad what the suspect’s motive was,” she said.

Bouchard said police are already investigating emerging hoax threats of copycat shootings, calling it an “incredibly disturbing trend.”

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