Home News Update: Parents of Oxford high school shooter found in Detroit, entire family...

Update: Parents of Oxford high school shooter found in Detroit, entire family in custody

Source: Oakland County Sheriff / Twitter


Mark Hicks

The Detroit News

The parents of the accused Oxford High School shooter who prompted a multi-agency manhunt were apprehended by authorities early Saturday morning on the city’s east side.

The U.S. Marshal’s Service and the Oakland County Fugitive Apprehension Team along with the Detroit Police Department and other agencies were searching early Saturday morning for James and Jennifer Crumbley of Oxford on the city’s east side after they did not surrender to authorities early Friday afternoon ahead of a planned arraignment.

A vehicle linked to the missing parents had been discovered ahead of the couple being located at a location on Bellevue Street, said Rudy Harper, second deputy chief of the Detroit Police Department.

Detroit Police Chief James White in an early morning press briefing at the scene said a tip led police to a commercial building in the 1100 block of Bellevue, where police set up surveillance and a perimeter before the couple was taken into custody without incident. Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said that tip came from a business owner who saw a woman near the vehicle.

The Crumbleys own a 2021 black Kia Seltos that could be seen parked near the building.

White said the couple appeared to be hiding in the building, were not armed when they were arrested, and appeared “very distressed as they walked out” of the building.

White said the Crumbleys had assistance to get inside the building.

“… they were aided and we’re looking into that portion of the investigation, that part is very active now,” said White, adding that police know who let them in.

Asked if there could be additional charges, White said it’s likely. The department is “working an angle on one other person,” and that Detroit police would work with prosecutors in both Wayne and Oakland counties.

The couple was transported to the Oakland County Jail and arraignments are expected after 9 a.m. Saturday, McCabe said.

“Kudos to the Detroit Police Department for this great response and work,” he said. “We wish to thank all of the agencies that assisted on scene including Border Patrol, ( Michigan State Police), U.S. Marshals and our own Fugitive Team.”

Earlier Friday, James and Jennifer Crumbley had been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the deaths of four Oxford High School students by Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald.

Their son, Ethan Crumbley, 15, is accused of killing four fellow Oxford High School students and wounding seven others, including a teacher, on Tuesday, with a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun his father purchased for him and that his mother referred to on social media as a Christmas gift for the couple’s son.

Several hours after the search began, the couple’s lawyers, Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman, said the husband and wife were returning to the area to be arraigned.

“The Crumbleys left town on the night of the tragic shooting for their own safety,” said Smith and Lehman. They did not say where the couple had fled to.

McCabe said Fugitive Apprehension Team officers were out searching for the couple as of mid-afternoon Friday.

By late Friday night, U.S. Marshals announced a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to their arrests

There was an ongoing dispute between McDonald and McCabe and the couple’s attorneys about how she handled the announcement of charges against the parents.

McCabe indicated the sheriff’s office was blindsided by McDonald’s noon announcement that the couple would face involuntary manslaughter charges when they were not yet in custody.

McDonald defended her office’s actions during a CNN Friday night interview. She has not responded to messages from The Detroit News.

“The prosecutor’s office doesn’t arrest people,” McDonald told CNN host Anderson Cooper.

A day and a half before the press conference, McDonald said she asked an assistant prosecutor in her office if police had “eyes” on the parents. She said she was told police knew where the Crumbleys were.

McCabe rejected that assertion as false.

“We didn’t even know they had been charged with anything until we were informed this morning by the media,” McCabe told The News earlier Friday.

And Friday evening, after McDonald made her comments on CNN, McCabe told The News that not only was his office not contacted by an assistant prosecutor about the case but that at no time did the department indicate to prosecutors that “eyes” were on the Crumbleys.

“No one ever talked to an assistant prosecutor and no one ever told anyone we had eyes on them,” McCabe said. “That just did not happen.”

Several hours after the search began, Smith and Lehman criticized McDonald for a lack of communication.

“On Thursday night, we contacted the Oakland County prosecutor to discuss this matter and to advise her that James and Jennifer Crumbley would be turning themselves in to be arraigned,” Smith and Lehman told The News Friday afternoon. “Instead of communicating with us, the prosecutor held a press conference to announce charges.

“The Crumbleys left town on the night of the tragic shooting for their own safety. They are returning to the area to be arraigned. They are not fleeing from law enforcement despite recent comments in media reports.”


(c)2021 The Detroit News

Visit The Detroit News at www.detnews.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announces multiple manslaughter charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley during a press conferenceon December 3, 2021.


James David Dickson

The Detroit News

PONTIAC, Mich. — Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald on Friday filed involuntary manslaughter charges against the suspect’s parents in the Oxford High School shooting.

Jennifer and James Crumbley — the parents of 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, who is accused of killing four of his classmates and wounding seven others — were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; and Justin Shilling, 17.

“These charges are intended to hold individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable, but also to send a message,” McDonald said at a press conference. “We need to do better in this country. We need to say enough is enough. For our kids, teachers and all of us.”

McDonald said Ethan Crumbley was with father James when the father bought the Sig Sauer Model SP 2022 9 mm semi-automatic pistol at Acme Shooting Goods in Oxford on Nov. 26.

Prior to that, on Nov. 21, a teacher at Oxford High School reported Ethan was searching for ammunition on his phone, she said. The school reached out to Jennifer Crumbley, but never heard back from the parents, the prosecutor said.

Jennifer texted Ethan about it, McDonald said: “LOL, I’m not gonna get mad at you, you have to learn to not get caught.”

At a noon court proceeding in 52nd District Court in Rochester Hills, Lt. Tim Willis of Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said the parents knew their son was troubled and were told to get their son help.

The mother texted her son after learning about the shooting: “Ethan, don’t do it,” Willis added.

After a teacher found a disconcerting note and drawing, the Crumbleys were summoned to the school. But by the time they got there, Ethan had allegedly crossed out some of the notes that were most disturbing, including the words “blood everywhere” and “my life is useless,” McDonald said.

After the meeting, Ethan Crumbley was returned to class, along with his backpack — the backpack allegedly used to carry the gun, McDonald said. Then Ethan went to the bathroom eventually, came out and started shooting, law enforcement officials have said.

At 1:22 p.m. Tuesday, after the shooting, Jennifer allegedly texted her son: “Ethan, don’t do it.”

A short time later, James called 911 and told police his gun was missing, and that Ethan might be the shooter, McDonald said.

The prosecutor contended the Crumbleys kept the gun in a drawer in their room, unlocked.

“I have spoken to (victims’ parents) and indicated what charges were coming,” McDonald said. “These parents are deep in grief.

“I have tremendous compassion and empathy for parents with children who are struggling, for whatever reason,” she added. “But the facts in this case are so egregious. The notion that a parent could read those words, and also know their son had access to a deadly weapon.”

When asked if the Crumbleys were “straw buyers” of the gun, meaning they bought a weapon their son could not have bought for himself,” McDonald said she believed so. But that would be a federal matter, she said.

“I expect parents to have humanity and step in and stop a potential tragedy,” McDonald said.

McDonald said she “couldn’t comment” on whether the parents would be arrested Friday or allowed to turn themselves in. Their case is charged in 52/3 District Court in Rochester Hills. No arraignment time yet appears on the court website.

The prosecutor was asked why Ethan Crumbley was allowed back into class.

“I’m not going to give you a political answer, and I’m not going to cover for anybody,” McDonald said. “But of course he should not have been allowed to go back to that class. I believe that is a universal position. I’m not going to chastise or attack.”

McDonald’s decision came after the Crumbleys’ son was arraigned Wednesday on 24 criminal charges, including terrorism causing death, first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

A judge ordered the teen to be held without bond. If convicted, he is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Earlier this week, McDonald hinted her office may file charges against the teen’s parents. Police said Crumbley’s father purchased last week the gun his son used in the rampage.

Experts and prosecutors not involved in the case said potential charges filed in similar cases have included involuntary manslaughter and negligent endangerment, depending on what investigators uncover. But some experts also suggest it’s rare for adult gun owners to be charged in relation to school shootings.

There have been cases in Michigan and other states where parents under similar facts have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, said Larry Dubin, a criminal justice professor at the University of Detroit-Mercy.

“These potential charges reflect the important need for parents of minors to properly safekeep guns to avoid a child from having easy access to the weapon and causing injury or even death to other people,” Dubin said.

In one standout Michigan case dating to 2000, Jamelle James was sentenced to two to 15 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter after a 6-year-old boy took a handgun that James had stored in a shoebox at the boy’s home and took it to his school near Flint, fatally shooting 6-year-old Kayla Rolland of Mount Morris Township.

Michigan does not have laws requiring gun owners to secure their weapons when children are present in a home, and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is calling for that situation to change.


(Staff Writers Melissa Nann Burke and George Hunter contributed.)


©2021 www.detroitnews.com. Visit at detroitnews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

If you have any problems viewing this article, please report it here.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here