Michigan shooting: Parents of suspect met teachers ‘concerned’ by his behaviour hours before attack

Michigan teen charged with first-degree murder

A Michigan teenager was ordered held without bond on Wednesday after being charged with first-degree murder in the deadliest US school shooting of the year.

The parents of a teenager accused of killing four students at a US high school were summoned to discuss his behaviour just a few hours before the violence, a sheriff said.

The disclosure was made Wednesday (local time) as Ethan Crumbley, 15, was charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism for a shooting at Oxford High School in Oakland County, Michigan.

“He deliberately brought the handgun that day with the intent to murder as many students as he could,” assistant prosecutor Marc Keast said while successfully arguing for no bail for Crumbley and a transfer to jail from a juvenile facility.

Prosecutor Karen McDonald did not reveal a possible motive for the shooting Tuesday at Oxford High School, located in a community of about 22,000 people roughly 48 kilometres north of Detroit. However, she said prosecutors are “confident” they can show the crime was premeditated.

READ MORE:
* Student kills 3 people, wounds 8 at a US high school
* Parkland school shooting: Ex-student Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to murdering 17

Police in the parking lot of a Meijer store where Oxford High School students were being reunited with parents in Oxford.
PAUL SANCYA/AP
Police in the parking lot of a Meijer store where Oxford High School students were being reunited with parents in Oxford.
“There is a mountain of digital evidence. Videotape, social media, all digital evidence possible,” she said.

Authorities earlier said a 17-year-old boy became the fourth student to die from the school shooting. The Oakland County sheriff’s office identified the teen as Justin Shilling.

Earlier, Sheriff Mike Bouchard told reporters that Crumbley’s parents were called to the school “for behaviour in the classroom that was concerning.” The teen remained in school, however, and the shooting occurred a few hours later.

Bouchard didn’t say what had worried school officials. He said investigators believe the gun was already in the 1700-student school.

“There is nothing that he could have faced that would warrant senseless, absolutely brutal violence on other kids,” the sheriff said, noting that Crumbley had an additional 18 rounds of ammunition when he was arrested.

People attending a vigil embrace at LakePoint Community Church in Oxford, Michigan.
PAUL SANCYA/AP
People attending a vigil embrace at LakePoint Community Church in Oxford, Michigan.
In court, Keast said Crumbley entered a bathroom with a backpack and came out with a semi-automatic handgun, firing at students while moving down the hallway.

Three students were in hospitals Wednesday night, including a 17-year-old girl in critical condition, the sheriff’s office said. Others who were injured were discharged.

Deputies rushed to the school around lunchtime Tuesday and captured Crumbley within minutes of the shooting. His father bought the 9 mm Sig Sauer gun last week, according to the sheriff.

Authorities say a 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school, killing three students and wounding six other people, including a teacher.
AP
Authorities say a 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school, killing three students and wounding six other people, including a teacher.
Bouchard said he didn’t know why the man bought the semi-automatic handgun, which his son had been posting pictures of and practicing shooting.

It was the deadliest school shooting since the Santa Fe, Texas, High School massacre in 2018, according to The Associated Press/USA TODAY/Northeastern University Mass Killings database. The US has had 31 mass killings this year of which 28 involved firearms.

McDonald said charges were being considered against Crumbley’s parents.

“Owning a gun means securing it properly and locking it and keeping the ammunition separate,” she said.

The shooting should be a wake-up call for new gun laws in a country that has become “desensitized to school shootings,” McDonald told reporters.

Parents walk away with their kids from the Meijer’s parking lot, where many students gathered following an active shooter situation at Oxford High School.
ERIC SEALS/AP
Parents walk away with their kids from the Meijer’s parking lot, where many students gathered following an active shooter situation at Oxford High School.
McDonald said charges were being considered against Crumbley’s parents.

“Owning a gun means securing it properly and locking it and keeping the ammunition separate,” she said.

The shooting should be a wake-up call for new gun laws in a country that has become “desensitized to school shootings,” McDonald told reporters.

“We have to do better,” the prosecutor said without offering specific changes. “How many times does this have to happen? How many times?”

She also said the terrorism charge is appropriate in this case.

“What about all the children who ran, screaming, hiding under desks? … Those are victims, too, and so are their families and so is the community,” McDonald said.

stuff-logo
BREAKING NEWS
Get email alerts for Stuff’s biggest stories
Subscribe for free
Video posted on social media showed students rushing to get out of first-floor classroom windows rather than open a door to someone who claimed to be a police officer. Bouchard said he likely was a detective.

After the 2016 US presidential election, Crumbley’s mother wrote an open letter to Donald Trump as a blog post. It suggested school trouble, financial struggles, resentments – but also hope for the future.

Jennifer Crumbley said she was skipping car insurance payments to hire a tutor to help her son, who was 10 at the time. She blamed the “common core” curriculum used by teachers.

“My son struggles daily, and my teachers tell me they hate teaching it but they have to,” Jennifer Crumbley wrote.

She also celebrated her right to own a gun, referring to her job as a real estate agent.

“As a female and a Realtor, thank you for allowing my right to bear arms. Allowing me to be protected if I show a home to someone with bad intentions,” she wrote. “Thank you for respecting that Amendment.”