Oxford High School shooting: Parents of the Michigan high school shooting suspect are charged with crimes tied to deadly rampage, prosecutor says

“It’s been a devastating week for us,” Oakland District Attorney Karen MacDonald told a news conference. “There are other individuals who have contributed… and I intend to hold them responsible as well.”

In this rare case of a parental indictment, prosecutors will try to prove that James and Jennifer Curmbley were criminally negligent and contributed to a dangerous situation that led to the deaths of four teens on Tuesday.

MacDonald said James Crumbley bought the gun four days before it was used for the shooting. His son, sophomore Ethan Curmbley, was 15 with him, and later posted on social media about the gun, calling her “my new beauty.”

MacDonald said Jennifer Crumbly also posted about the gun on social media, calling it “the new Christmas present.”

MacDonald said this was among the chain of events that led to the shooting.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said a boy cannot legally own or carry the gun to most places — with rare exceptions such as shooting ranges.

Ethan Curmbley was charged as an adult with terrorism, murder, and other charges in a rampage north of Detroit that also left seven people injured. The shooting was the deadliest on a K-12 campus in the US since 2018 and the 32nd attack of its kind since August 1.

His parents are expected to stand trial at 4 pm on Friday on four counts of manslaughter.

Lieutenant Tim Willis, head of the special investigations unit at the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, said officers were planning to arrest the parents.

MacDonald, addressing reporters, said she was accusing the parents in part of explaining gun ownership liability, but that the facts of the case were terrible on their own.

“I am angry as a mother. I am angry as the attorney general. I am angry as someone who lives in this county,” she said. “There were a lot of things that could have been easy to prevent, and yes, there was a response that was executed perfectly, he was caught right away and we have great law enforcement and good training.

“But as I said before, four children were killed, and then seven more were injured, so, yes, I think we all must be very angry.”

Prosecutor sketches out a chilling sequence of events

MacDonald said a teacher saw Ethan Curmbley looking for ammunition on his cell phone during class the day before the shooting and reported it to school officials. The school contacted Jennifer Curmbley via voicemail. MacDonald said officials also sent an email but received no response from either parent.

Jennifer Curmbley texted about the incident with her son that day, saying, quoting, ‘Lol, I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught. It’s over, MacDonald said.

On the day of the shooting, MacDonald said, a teacher found a note on Ethan Crumbly’s desk so upset that she took a picture of it on her phone. The note included a drawing of a semi-automatic pistol pointing to the words, “Ideas Won’t Stop. Help Me,” she said.

Another section was a drawing of a bullet with the words “blood everywhere” written above it. Between the drawing of the gun and the bullet, MacDonald said, there is a person who appears to have been hit by two bullets, bleeding.

“Below that number is a drawing of a laughing emoji,” MacDonald said.

As found in the note according to MacDonald: “My life is useless” and “The world is dead.”

MacDonald said James and Jennifer Crumble were “immediately called to school”. A counselor met the parents and the boy, who changed the drawing by scanning the pistol drawings and the bloody figure, along with the words, according to MacDonald.

MacDonald said the parents were told to bring their son for a consultation within 48 hours. Neither parent asked their son to see the gun or “check his bag for the gun he had,” according to MacDonald.

The parents left school and the boy was sent back to class.

When news of the shooting broke, according to MacDonald, Jennifer Cromble texted her son: “Ethan, don’t do that.” James Curmbley called 911 to report a gun missing and his son may have been the shooter.

MacDonald said investigators found that the gun used in the shooting was stored unlocked in a drawer in the couple’s bedroom.

School officials: There was no need to take disciplinary action.

No disciplinary action was warranted, the school district principal said Thursday when the meeting took place before the shooting.

“Discipline was not warranted. There are no high school discipline records,” Oxford Community Schools principal Tim Thrun said in a video statement on Thursday. “Yes, this student was in contact with our front office. And yes, his parents were on campus on November 30th.”

MacDonald told CNN Thursday night that there was a “strong possibility” that Crombley had the gun he allegedly used in the shooting in his backpack during the meeting.

Bouchard, the mayor of Oakland County, told CNN Friday morning that the school’s video surveillance cameras would allow investigators to “paint an accurate and literal picture of what the perpetrator did” from that meeting to the shooting and arrest.

He said the shooter was carrying the gun “on his person, in his bag, or somehow he hid it” away from the school site.

Another warning sign came on Monday — the day before the shooting — when another teacher “saw and heard something that I felt was disturbing” regarding Crombley’s behavior in class, Bouchard said. Bouchard added that school officials held a counseling session with Crombley about the behavior in question, and his parents were notified by phone.

Crumpley’s defense attorney asked the court on Wednesday to file an acquittal on behalf of his client. CNN has reached out to Crumpley’s parents and is trying to identify their attorney and a new attorney for their son.

Superintendent says the school is like a ‘war zone’

Two days after the deadly attack, Oxford High School has become “more like a war zone,” Thrun told his community from the school in a 13-minute video posted to YouTube.

“This high school is now a wreck,” he said, adding that repairs could take weeks.

The shooting claimed the life of Madison Baldwin, 17; Tate Meyer, 16 years old; Hana St. Juliana, 14; and Justin Schilling, 17, officials said.
Moderator Tim Thrun addresses his community via YouTube.

The throne commended the students and staff for the way they handled the threat of active gunfire, with some administrators performing CPR and students using desks and chairs to fortify themselves inside classrooms for protection.

Bouchard said more than 100 calls were made to 911 to report the shooting as police rushed to the school at 12:52 pm local time. Within “two to three minutes” of the officers arriving, the shooter surrendered.

“I think they literally saved lives, after they shot down the suspect with a loaded firearm still in the building,” the sheriff said.

Marc Morales, Sonia Moggi, Caroline Song, Sahar Akbarzai, Taylor Romijn, Shimon Prokopic, Kristina Sgiglia, and Adrien Broadus contributed to this report.


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