- A $1 million bond was imposed on the parents of the perpetrator of the recent US high school massacre that left four dead.
- A judge set the bail after the parents of the suspect in the shooting submitted their statements.
- The police said the parents were caught hiding in a commercial building in Detroit after their arrest was ordered.
A judge on Saturday set a combined $1 million bail for the parents of Ethan Crumbley, the Michigan teenager accused of killing four students at an Oxford high school, hours after the police said they were caught hiding in a building in Detroit.
James and Jennifer Crumbley pleaded innocent of each of the four involuntary manslaughter charges against them during a hearing held via Zoom. Jennifer Crumbley sobbed and struggled to answer the judge’s questions at times, and James Crumbley shook his head when a prosecutor said her son had full access to the weapon used in the murders.
The shooter’s mother burst into tears
Judge Julie Nicholson assigned a bond of $500,000 for each parent and required GPS monitoring if they were to pay the bond to be released. Also, the judge agreed with the prosecutors that Ethan Crumbley’s parents represented a flight risk, the Associated Press reported.
The Crumbleys’ defense attorneys still argued Saturday that they never intended to flee and that they had made plans to meet with their attorneys earlier that morning. Attorney Shannon Smith accused the prosecutors of “carefully selecting” facts for public release, including the accusation that Ethan had unrestricted access to weapons that prosecutors say his father bought days before the shooting.
Parents refused to take their son out of the school before the shooting
“Our clients are just as devastated as everyone else,” Smith said, adding that the gun “was locked.” However, the lawyer did not provide further details during the hearing on Saturday. Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office Karen McDonald filed charges of involuntary manslaughter against the Crumbleys on Friday, accusing them of failing to intervene on the day of the tragedy despite being confronted with a chilling drawing and message, “blood everywhere,” which was found on the boy’s desk.
The Crumbleys committed heinous acts, from purchasing a gun on Black Friday and making it available to Ethan Crumbley to resisting his expulsion from school when they were summoned a few hours before the shooting, McDonald said Friday.
Parents ignored chilling messages
Authorities had been searching for the couple since Friday afternoon. On Friday night, US Marshals announced a reward of up to $10,000 each for information leading to their arrest. Smith, the Crumbleys’ attorney, had said Friday that the couple left town earlier in the week “for their own safety” and would return to Oxford to face the charges.
During Saturday’s hearing, Smith said they were in contact by phone and text message Friday night and blamed prosecutors for failing to contact her and defense attorney Mariell Lehman. “Our clients were going to absolutely deliver; it was just a question of logistics,” she said.
Are Ethan Crumbley’s parents a flight risk?
However, McDonald said Saturday that the couple withdrew $4,000 from an ATM on Friday morning in Rochester Hills, not far from the courthouse where they should have appeared that afternoon. “These are not people that we can be sure will go back to court on their own,” he said.
A Detroit business owner spotted a car associated with the Crumbleys in his parking lot Friday night, Oakland County Sheriff Michael McCabe said in a statement. A woman seen near the vehicle escaped when the business owner called 911, McCabe said.
There could be more involved
Later, the Detroit police located and arrested the couple. Detroit Police Chief James White said the couple “received help getting into the building.” That person who helped them could also face charges.
On Friday, McDonald gave the most accurate account yet of the events leading up to the shooting at Oxford High School, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit. Ethan Crumbley, 15, came out of a bathroom with a handgun and shot students in the hallway, investigators said. He was charged as an adult with murder, terrorism, and other crimes. Filed under: Bail Set for Ethan Crumbley’s Parents
How did the shooting break out?
15-year-old Ethan Crumbley emerged from a downtown bathroom with a pistol and shot students in the hallway, investigators said. He was charged as an adult for murder, terrorism, and other crimes. Under Michigan law, a manslaughter charge can be brought against parents if authorities believe that someone contributed to a situation where there was a high probability of harm or death.
In the United States, parents are rarely charged in school shootings involving their children even when most minors have obtained guns from the home of a parent or other relative, experts say. Filed under: Bail Set for Ethan Crumbley’s Parents
Mother sent disturbing messages before the massacre
School authorities became concerned about the young Crumbley on Monday, the day before the shooting, when a teacher saw him using his cell phone to search for ammunition, prosecutor McDonald said. The school contacted Jennifer Crumbley, who later wrote her son a text message that read, “I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,” according to the prosecutor.
On Tuesday, a teacher found a note on Ethan’s desk and took a photo of it. It was a picture of a gun pointed at the words: “Thoughts don’t stop. Help me.” There was also a drawing of a bullet, with the phrase “Blood everywhere” at the top. Filed under: Bail Set for Ethan Crumbley’s Parents
Did the parents ignore the warning signs?
Between the gun and the bullet was a person who appeared to have been shot twice and was bleeding. He also wrote the phrases “My life is useless” and “The world is dead,” according to the prosecutor. McDonald stressed that the school quickly arranged a meeting with Ethan and his parents, who were told to take him to therapy within 48 hours.
The prosecutor noted that the Crumbleys did not ask the young man about the weapon or search his backpack and “resisted the idea of their son leaving school at that time.” The teenager returned to class and later carried out the shooting. “The notion that a father can read those words and also know that his son had access to a deadly weapon that they gave him is inconceivable, it is criminal,” said the prosecutor. Jennifer Crumbley texted her son after the shooting, saying, “Ethan, don’t do it,” McDonald added. Filed under: Bail Set for Ethan Crumbley’s Parents
Suspect had left ghoulish clues as to what he planned to do
Ethan Crumbley entered a bathroom with a backpack and came out with a semi-automatic pistol, shooting the students as he proceeded down the hall. The four students who died were 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, and 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin and Justin Shilling.
Three students were in hospitals Wednesday night, including a 17-year-old girl in critical condition, the sheriff’s office said. Others who were injured were discharged. Officers rushed to school around lunchtime Tuesday and captured Crumbley minutes after the shooting. His father bought the Sig Sauer 9 mm pistol last week, according to the sheriff. Filed under: Bail Set for Ethan Crumbley’s Parents
The deadliest shooting
The Associated Press and USA Today reported that this high school massacre is the deadliest school shooting since the 2018 Santa Fe, Texas, shooting based on the Northeastern University Mass Killings database. The United States had 31 mass murders in 2021, of which 28 involved firearms.
The shooting should be a wake-up call for new gun laws in the country, which seems to have become “insensitive to school shootings,” McDonald told reporters. “We have to do better,” the prosecutor said without offering specific changes. “How many times does this have to happen? How often?” Filed under: Bail Set for Ethan Crumbley’s Parents
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