James and Jennifer Crumbley
– Rochester Hills District Court
The parents of the Oxford high school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley were arrested in the early hours of Saturday morning in an industrial warehouse in Detroit, hours after a manhunt was launched when the couple failed to turn themselves in on charges related to Tuesday’s massacre.
Detroit Police Chief James White said Jennifer and James Crumbley were found “hiding in the building” following a tip-off as to their whereabouts.
Hours earlier, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald announced that the parents of the 15-year-old accused mass shooter had been charged with four charges each of involuntary manslaughter.
Prosecutor McDonald said it was “impossible not to conclude” that the Crumbleys could have done more to stop the mass shooting, which killed four students and injured seven others.
Here’s what we know about the Crumbleys:
What have the Crumbley parents been charged with?
Both parents have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each, which authorities described as the maximum possible charge available given the allegations of what happened.
Did the Crumbleys go on the run?
The Crumbleys were arrested in the early hours of Saturday morning at a warehouse in Detroit, after a manhunt was launched and a $10,000 reward was offered for information leading to their arrests.
Prosecutor McDonald had announced her decision to charge the Crumbleys in a press conference on Friday and the couple were due to be arraigned that afternoon.
But they failed to turn themselves in for their arraignment, leading authorities to launch a huge manhunt involving the US Marshals Service and to declare the parents fugitives.
A law enforcement source told CNN that the couple withdrew $4,000 in cash from an ATM in Rochester Hills, around 15 miles from Oxford, that day and had switched off their phones so that their locations couldn’t be traced.
However, attorneys for the Crumbleys insisted that the couple were not on the run but had left town for their own safety in the aftermath of the shooting and were returning to turn themselves in voluntarily. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office disputed this claim, saying it was not aware of any such arrangement.
A car belonging to the Crumbleys was located in the parking lot of a business in Detroit on Friday night and the couple was then arrested hours later at the warehouse following a tip-off.
Chief White told reporters in a press briefing early Saturday morning that the fugitives “appeared to be hiding in the building” and that the situation “isn’t indicative of turning themselves in, hiding in a warehouse”.
He said he believed it was “very likely” the Crumbleys were trying to escape to Canada.
The couple, who were unarmed but “very distressed” when they were taken into custody, were helped into the building by someone else, he said, adding that this could result in charges for that individual.
Following their arrest, the couple were taken to Oakland County Jail – the same jail that houses their son.
Did Ethan Crumbley’s parents know he had a gun?
Ethan Crumbley’s parents bought him a gun, practiced shooting it with him, and had warning signs he was considering violence, according to the timeline laid out by officials on Wednesday.
The 15-year-old was present on 26 November when his father purchased the 9mm Sig Sauer used in the shooting, and even though his dad made the purchase, it was clear the gun was bound for Ethan Crumbley’s personal use.
“Just got my new beauty today. Sig Sauer 9mm. Any questions I will answer,” Ethan posted on now-deleted social media that same day, according to officials.
The following day, he and his mother headed to a shooting range to practice with the weapon, with Jennifer describing the outing as “Mom and son day testing out his new Christmas present”.
Did Ethan Crumbley’s parents warn school officials he was armed?
Neither Jennifer nor James Crumbley alerted school officials that Ethan had easy access to a semi-automatic handgun, according to prosecutors, even once they had been warned he was showing interest in seeking ammunition at school and making violent drawings.
Did Ethan Crumbley’s parents have any warnings he was considering violence?
School officials tried on multiple occasions to warn the Crumbley parents that their son was allegedly considering violence at school.
In the days before the shooting, Oxford High School left both a voicemail and an email with the family that a teacher had spied Ethan searching for information about ammunition online, which was met with no response to officials.
Jennifer, however, did allegedly text Ethan, writing, “Lol I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”
Things escalated on 30 November, the morning of the shooting, which officials called both parents into school, after finding an alarming drawing of Ethan’s that featured pictures of guns, laughing emoji, and messages like “my life is useless” and “the thoughts won’t stop, help me.”
School personnel showed the parents the drawing, advising them to put Ethan in counseling immediately, according to prosecutors.
“James and Jennifer Crumbley resisted the idea of their son leaving the school at that time. Instead Jennifer and James Crumbley left the high school without their son,” Ms McDonald, the prosecutor, said on Friday.
Once there were reports that a shooting had occured at the school that day, Jennifer allegedly sent a text to Ethan that read, “Ethan, don’t do it,” while James drove straight home and reported his gun missing.
Were they supportive of guns?
“As a female and a Realtor, thank you for allowing my right to bear arms,” she wrote. “Allowing me to be protected if I show a home to someone with bad intentions. Thank you for respecting that Amendment.”
James, who has worked as a technology salesman, wrote on his Facebook page that the post was “spot on.”
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