PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) — Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald has charged 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley as an adult with murder and attempted murder in last week’s tragic school shooting.
McDonald has charged Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents with involuntary manslaughter as the evidence shows they bought their son a 9mm Sig Sauer semi-automatic handgun as a Christmas present that was used in the school shooting.
The prosecutor confirms she’s looking at the actions of Oxford school counselors and administrators for their actions.
“There was absolutely evidence to suggest that there was an indication he might harm somebody and even kill somebody. We haven't ruled out charging anyone,” McDonald said on CNN this morning.
The evidence shows on Monday, the day before the shooting, Ethan was reported to the office by a teacher who found him searching for ammunition on his cellphone. The prosecutor says Ethan explained it as “a family hobby.”
On Tuesday just a couple of hours before the shooting, another teacher found Ethan with a picture he drew of a gun, a bullet, a student shot twice and the words, “The thoughts won’t stop, please help me, blood everywhere, my life is useless, the world is dead.”
That was reported to the office. The teacher reported it to the office. The teacher took a picture of it. The parents were called to the school. By then, much of the picture had been scratched out. The parents refused to take Ethan home. He was allowed to return to class.
“In this case, a lot could have been done different. I mean, that that meeting, he was allowed to go back to school,” McDonald said on Good Morning America.
Prosecutor McDonald has charged both parents with involuntary manslaughter for buying their son the gun and not reporting that to school officials in that meeting. The same charges could come against school officials.
Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton is a Democrat, as is McDonald, and he tells 7 Action News, “She’d be looking at the same charges she leveled against the parents. And that's involuntary manslaughter. And then she'd have to prove that they, the school officials, were grossly negligent, pretty much being able to prove that they knew or should have known that this young man was going to do these horrific things.”
Pete Lucido is a Republican and the Macomb County Prosecutor who takes a different view, telling 7 Action News, “Based on the small amount that I know, it's a slippery slope to start charging school officials and the reason why is I think that that needs to be played out. In a civil arena and not the criminal arena.”
Oxford Superintendent Tim Throne in a detailed letter to the district said in part:
Given the fact that the child had no prior disciplinary infractions, the decision was made he would be returned to the classroom rather than sent home to an empty house. These incidents remained at the guidance counselor level and were never elevated to the principal or assistant principal’s office.
The Michigan Education Association is the union for teachers and counselors at Oxford High School.
Doug Pratt is the Communications Director and tells 7 Action News, “Right now, the goal needs to be to deal with their trauma and the trauma of their students in that community that has to be our priority. You know, investigations need to happen. We need to look at the systems involved. And as I said, Everyone involved is going to rethink everything from Tuesday for the rest of their lives.”
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard has said his liaison officer inside Oxford High School was not called into the school meeting. No one searched Ethan’s backpack or his school locker for a gun.
Involuntary manslaughter is up to 15 years in prison.
A lesser charge of misconduct in office is up to 5 years in prison.
Read the superintendent's full letter below: