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Parents of Michigan School Shooting Suspect Arrested

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James and Jennifer Crumbley are shown during the video arraignment of their son, Ethan Crumbley in Rochester Hills, Mich., on Dec. 1, 2021.

The parents of a teenager accused of fatally shooting four of his classmates at a Michigan high school last week and wounding seven other people were arrested early Saturday in a commercial building in Detroit.

James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of 15-year-old Ethan, were the subject of a manhunt after they failed to appear in court Friday on charges of four counts of manslaughter for ignoring warning signs ahead of the school shooting and giving their son access to a gun.

James E. White, Detroit’s police chief, said Saturday his officers received “a tip” about the couple’s location and that the parents “did not resist” arrest.

White also said the person who let the couple into the building could also face charges, but did not reveal the person’s identity.

Later Saturday, the couple pleaded not guilty at their arraignment to all four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Bond was set at $500,000 for each.

Shannon Smith, the Crumbleys’ lawyer, said the couple’s failure to appear in court was due to a lack of communication with the prosecutor's office. She said her office had tried “multiple times” to communicate with the prosecutor’s office.

The Crumbleys were charged three days after their 15-year-old son, Ethan, allegedly opened fire at Oxford High School in the town of Oxford, Michigan, killing four students and wounding seven other people.

This booking photo released by the Oakland County, Mich., Sheriff's Office shows Ethan Crumbley, 15, who is charged as an adult with murder and terrorism for a school shooting.
This booking photo released by the Oakland County, Mich., Sheriff's Office shows Ethan Crumbley, 15, who is charged as an adult with murder and terrorism for a school shooting.

Karen McDonald, the chief prosecutor in Oakland County, Michigan, said in an interview with WJR-AM radio in Detroit, Michigan that the Crumbleys' actions prior to the killings went "far beyond negligence."

Prosecutors said Ethan Crumbley had displayed several warning signs before the school shooting, including drawing a picture of a handgun and a bleeding figure with the words "Blood everywhere" and "The thoughts won't stop — help me" written on the sheet.

They also said a teacher had seen the teenager searching online for ammunition on his phone and alerted school officials.

James and Jennifer Crumbley were summoned to the school a few hours before the shooting but "resisted" the idea of taking their son home from school, according to McDonald.

Memorial wreaths are shown at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., Dec. 1, 2021.
Memorial wreaths are shown at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., Dec. 1, 2021.

Parents in the U.S. are seldom charged in school shootings involving their children, experts say. If convicted, the Crumbleys could face up to 15 years in prison.

Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including first-degree murder and terrorism, for allegedly killing the students with a semiautomatic gun that investigators said Crumbley's father had bought legally last week.

Michigan law does not require gun owners to keep weapons locked away from children.

Tuesday's attack was the deadliest shooting in a U.S. school this year, according to Education Week. It was also the latest in a series of mass shootings at U.S. schools that span decades.

Information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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