The parents of the teen suspected of a fatal shooting at a Michigan school denied the involuntary manslaughter charges after his arrest Saturday.
James and Jennifer Crumbley were found hiding in a Detroit basement after failing to appear in court on Friday. The judge set a bond of US $ 500,000 each after agreeing with prosecutors that the Crumbleys posed a flight risk. They are accused of ignoring the warning signs before the shooting allegedly carried out by their son. Prosecutors say 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley used his father’s gun to shoot his classmates in the nearby Michigan city of Oxford, killing four and wounding seven. Lawyers for the Crumbleys said the couple intended to turn themselves in to authorities Saturday morning, according to US media. However, reports in the US indicate that the couple had withdrawn $ 4,000 from an ATM and turned off their mobile phones.
The couple were arrested in the early hours of Saturday after police found them in a building in Detroit.
Previously, the authorities had offered a reward of US $ 10,000 for information leading to their arrests, after they did not show up for the appointment with the court in which both were to be charged this Friday.
His son, Ethan Crumbley, is accused of using his father’s gun in this week’s attack on the high school in Oxford, a town about 60 kilometers north of Detroit.
Four people died and seven were injured in Tuesday’s shooting. The victims were identified as 16-year-old Tate Myre, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin, 14-year-old Hana St Juliana and 17-year-old Justin Shilling.
The student has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including terrorism.
Prosecutors alleged that the parents ignored the warning signs, calling some of their previous actions “egregious.”
Why did they accuse the parents?
Oakland County Chief Prosecutor Karen McDonald acknowledged Friday that indicting parents for the alleged crime of a child is highly unusual.
According to his office’s investigation, the young man was with his father last Friday when Crumbley purchased the firearm believed to have been used in the shooting.
Ethan Crumbley later posted a photo of the gun on Instagram along with a message. “I just got my new beauty today“he wrote next to a heart emoji.
Just a day before the shooting, a teacher said she saw Ethan searching the internet for ammunition, prompting a meeting with school officials, McDonald explained.
After being informed of the incident, Crumbley’s mother texted her son: “Hahaha, I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”
And on Tuesday morning, hours before the incident, Crumbley’s parents were called to the school for an urgent meeting after teachers found a note from their son, which included various drawings of guns and bloodied people along with captions such as “thoughts won’t stop” and “blood everywhere.”
School officials told them they would have to seek counseling for their son.
Ethan Crumbley’s parents did not want their son taken from school that day, McDonald said, did not ask him if he had the gun or search the backpack he brought to school.
McDonald explained that the charges are meant to hold the Crumbleys accountable, as well as send a message about responsible gun possession.
“The idea that a parent can read those words and also Knowing that your child had access to a deadly weapon they were given is unthinkable and criminal“, he expressed.
The prosecutor previously noted that, although the gun had been legally purchased, “it appears to have been freely available” for the adolescent’s use.
According to her, the suspect removed the gun from a keyless drawer in his parents’ room and took her to school.
Neither federal nor state law requires gun owners to keep guns locked out of the reach of their children.
In a video message posted to YouTube on Thursday, the school’s superintendent, Tim Throne, said that although the teen and his parents had been called into the office, “no disciplinary action was warranted” at the time.
Throne added that the school looked like a “war zone” and wouldn’t be ready to run again for weeks.
McDonald alleged Friday that when James Crumbley learned of the shooting, “drove straight home to look for his gun “before calling the authorities to say that he suspected his son was the author.
In addition, he pointed out that after the fact the mother sent a text message to her son saying: “Ethan, don’t“.
“I am angry as a mother. I am angry as a prosecutor. I am angry as a person who lives in this county,” the prosecutor said.
“There were a lot of things that could have been so easy to prevent.”