Oxford High School Officials May Be Charged in School Shooting, Prosecutor Says

Officials at the Michigan high school where a deadly shooting took place last week could possibly face charges after new information came to light about the days and hours leading up to the attack, the Associated Press reported.

The school called a meeting with alleged gunman Ethan Crumbley, 15, and his parents hours before the shooting took place after a teacher found a drawing on his desk that showed a bullet and the words "blood everywhere." The school asked his parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, to take him home during the meeting, but they "flatly refused," according to Tim Throne, superintendent of the Oxford school district.

Throne said that school counselors present at the meeting thought Ethan Crumbley seemed "calm" and didn't appear to want to hurt anyone, the AP reported. Four students were killed in the shooting and a handful of others, including a teacher, were wounded.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald, who charged the parents last week in a rare move, said that an investigation into the shooting will determine whether charges against school officials are warranted.

"In this case, a lot could have been done different. I mean at that meeting he was allowed to go back to school," McDonald said Monday during an interview on ABC's Good Morning America.

"We know that he either had that weapon with him or someplace where he could have stored it in the school. But he had it in the school, there's no question. And leaving the decision to parents about whether he goes home or not..." she added but did not finish the sentence.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Michigan Shooting Memorial
Officials at the Michigan high school where a deadly shooting took place last week could possibly face charges after new information came to light about the days and hours leading up to the attack. Above, students hug at a memorial at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, on December 1, 2021. Paul Sancya/AP Photo

Thorne said a third party will investigate the events that occurred before the school shooting in Oxford Township, a community of about 23,000 people roughly 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit. On Sunday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said her office might conduct the probe.

Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes in the attack. And McDonald filed involuntary manslaughter charges against his parents, saying they failed to intervene on the day of the tragedy despite being confronted with the drawing and its disturbing message.

McDonald said Monday that Crumbley's parents did not mention during the meeting at the school that Ethan had access to a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. Authorities say he used the gun to carry out the attack, and that his father bought it for him at a local gun shop on Black Friday as an early Christmas present. Although the gun was legally sold to James Crumbley, minors in Michigan cannot possess guns aside from in limited situations, such as when hunting with an adult.

"You can't even in an airport mention anything that even remotely indicates that there might be some sort of violence on a plane. You'll be immediately extracted. And yet we have a kid who is...saying some pretty concerning things and he was allowed to go back to school, and neither parent mentions that he had access to a weapon," McDonald said.

McDonald said prosecutors have evidence suggesting that the couple "purchased that weapon for their 15-year-old and bragged about it online—thought this was some joyous occasion as a present."

And she said the teen had access to the gun "whether it was locked or not" at his family's home.

The parents were taken into custody early Saturday after they were caught hiding inside in the Detroit studio of artist Andrzej Sikora. The artist's attorney said Sunday that he is cooperating with investigators and didn't know the couple was facing charges or that they had stayed overnight at his studio while authorities were searching for them.

The couple's attorneys have said they didn't intend to flee.

Ethan Crumbley
Four students were killed in the shooting at Oxford High School and a handful of others, including a teacher, were wounded. This booking photo released by the Oakland County, Michigan Sheriff's Office shows 15-year-old suspect Ethan Crumbley. Oakland County Sheriff's Office via AP