Ethan Crumbley, who was 15 when he killed 4 Michigan students, could get life sentence


Important Takeaways:

  • Ethan Crumbley, the teen gunman who killed four students at Oxford High School, is eligible for life imprisonment without parole – the harshest possible punishment in Michigan, a judge ruled Friday.
  • Crumbley, now 17, was 15 when he opened fire at the school on November 30, 2021. He has pleaded guilty to one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder and 19 other charges related to the deadly rampage.
  • In addition to the four students killed, seven people were shot and wounded – including a teacher.
  • The shooter’s parents, who were arrested days after the shooting and charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, remain in jail pending that case, in which Oakland County prosecutors say Jennifer and James Crumbley gave their son easy access to a firearm and disregarded signs he was a threat.

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Michigan school shooting ‘entirely preventable’, says $100-million federal lawsuit

Reuters) – A deadly shooting rampage at a Michigan high school last week was “entirely preventable,” according to a $100 million federal lawsuit filed on Thursday against the Michigan school district and its employees.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Riley Franz, 17, who was shot in the neck, and her sister Bella, 14, who was next to her when she was shot in the Nov. 30 incident at Oxford High School in suburban Oakland County, some 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Detroit.

The girls’ parents, Jeffrey and Brandi Franz, also are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.

Riley Franz was among 6 students and a teacher seriously injured in the gunfire that killed 4 students.

Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old student, was being held without bail after he was charged as an adult in the attack, the deadliest U.S. school shooting of 2021.

His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, who gave him the gun as an early Christmas present and are accused of then ignoring warning signs that he was planning a shooting at the high school, were charged with involuntary manslaughter and were being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.

The lawsuit was filed against Oxford Community School District, superintendent Timothy Throne, principal Steven Wolf, dean of students Ryan Moore, two unnamed teachers and two unnamed counselors.

The district did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The lawsuit seeks $100 million on behalf of the Franz parents, and Riley – described as a 12th grade honor roll student preparing to enter college – and Bella, said to be a 9th grade star athlete getting ready for driver’s training.

“The horror of November 30, 2021 was entirely preventable,” said the lawsuit filed by Michigan personal injury attorney Geoffrey Fieger.

“Each and every defendant named herein created and increased the dangers then-existing at Oxford High School. The individually named Defendants are each responsible through their actions for making the student victims less safe.”

Among the many detailed accusations in the 44-page lawsuit were several detailing Ethan Crumbley’s threats of violence on social media as well as his search for ammunition on his cell phone.

Throne and Wolf reviewed social media posts and were aware of the ammunition search reported by a teacher prior to the shooting, the lawsuit said. Still, they reassured all parents by email and other correspondence that their children were safe at Oxford, the lawsuit said.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan teen in school shooting

By Brendan O’Brien and Joseph Ax

(Reuters) -Prosecutors on Friday charged the parents of a 15-year-old boy accused of murdering four students at his Michigan high school with involuntary manslaughter, saying the couple appear to have bought him the weapon as a Christmas present and ignored warning signs that he might be planning the rampage.

James and Jennifer Crumbley each face four counts and are expected to be arraigned later on Friday, three days after authorities say their son, Ethan, carried out the deadliest U.S. school shooting of 2021. He faces two dozen charges and is being held without bond.

“These charges are intended to hold the individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable and also send a message: that gun owners have a responsibility,” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald told a news conference on Friday.

Four days before the shooting, Ethan accompanied his father to a local gun shop, where James Crumbley bought a semi-automatic handgun, prosecutors said.

Later that day, Ethan posted photos of the gun on social media, writing, “Just got my new beauty today” and adding a heart emoji. His mother posted the next day that the two of them were “testing out his new Christmas present,” McDonald said.

Prosecutors described several chilling warning signs in the days leading up to the shooting. On Nov. 21, a teacher saw Ethan Crumbley searching for ammunition on his phone during class and alerted school officials, who left messages for his mother that went unreturned.

In a text message to her son that day, Jennifer Crumbley wrote, “LOL, I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,” prosecutors said.

The morning of the shooting, a teacher discovered a drawing that Ethan Crumbley had made depicting a handgun, a bullet, and a bleeding figure. The words “Blood everywhere” and “The thoughts won’t stop – help me” were also written on the sheet, among other messages, according to McDonald.

“It is impossible not to conclude that there is reason to believe he might hurt someone” based on the drawings, McDonald said.

James and Jennifer Crumbley were summoned to the school, where they were instructed to get Ethan into mental health counseling within 48 hours, McDonald said. They “resisted” the idea of taking their son home from school and did not search his backpack or ask him about the gun, she said.

When news of an active shooter at the school broke shortly after 1 p.m. EST, Jennifer Crumbley sent Ethan a text message, urging him, “Don’t do it,” according to prosecutors. A few minutes later, James Crumbley called police to report that the gun was missing and he believed his son might be the shooter.

The gun had been stored in an unlocked drawer in the parents’ bedroom, McDonald said.

It was not immediately clear whether James and Jennifer Crumbley had legal representation.

Parents are rarely charged in connection with children’s school shootings. Unlike some states, Michigan does not legally require gun owners to keep their firearms secured from children.

The attack is the latest in a decades-long string of mass shootings at U.S. schools.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien and Joseph Ax; Editing by Daniel Wallis)


Michigan teen charged with 1st-degree murder, held without bond in shooting spree


By Brendan O’Brien and Peter Szekely

(Reuters) – A Michigan teenager was ordered held without bond on Wednesday after being charged with first-degree murder in the deadliest U.S. school shooting of the year, which killed four students and wounded seven other people.

Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old sophomore at a high school in Oxford, Michigan, about 40 miles (65 km) north of Detroit, was charged with a slew of criminal counts in Tuesday’s shooting spree, Oakland County Prosecuting Attorney Karen McDonald said.

“I am absolutely sure after reviewing evidence that it isn’t even a close call,” she told a briefing. “It was absolutely premeditated.”

In addition to four counts of first-degree murder, Crumbley faces one count of terrorism causing death, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, she said.

The shooting spree was the deadliest on U.S. school property this year, according to Education Week. It was the latest in a decades-long string of deadly American school shootings.

Crumbley, who is being charged as an adult, appeared on Wednesday at an online arraignment where Judge Nancy Carniak ordered him held without bond at the Oakland County Jail.

At the arraignment, Lieutenant Tim Willis of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said investigators had found videos that Crumbley recorded the night before in which he talked about shooting and killing students.

“Further, a journal was recovered from Ethan’s backpack also detailing his desire to shoot up the school to include murdering students,” Willis said.

Crumbley opened fire at Oxford High School with a semi-automatic handgun – which his father had purchased four days earlier – after emerging from a restroom shortly before 1 p.m. EST (1700 GMT) on Tuesday, authorities said.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said Crumbley did not appear to be targeting any specific people during the shooting spree.

Three students hit by gunfire – Tate Myre, 16, Hana St. Juliana, 14, and Madisyn Baldwin, 17 – died on Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said. The fourth, 17-year-old Justin Shilling, died on Wednesday.

Of the six students and one teacher who were wounded, three students remained hospitalized late on Wednesday afternoon, including a 17-year-old girl in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the chest, the sheriff’s office said. Four others, including the teacher, have been discharged.


Bouchard told a briefing that investigators have yet to determine a motive for the shooting, adding that there was no evidence Crumbley had been bullied.

But he said school officials had contact with Crumbley the day before the shooting and another meeting with him and his parents on the morning of the shooting “for behavior in the classroom that they felt was concerning.”

“The content of that meeting, obviously, is part of the investigation, but we did not learn of that meeting nor the content of that meeting until after the shooting and during this investigation,” he said.

More than 50,000 people had signed an online petition as of Wednesday morning to rename the school’s stadium after Myre, who played on Oxford High’s football team, saying he tried to disarm the shooter.

“Tate is not just a hero to his fellow students at Oxford High School but a legend, his act of bravery should be remembered forever and passed down through generations,” the petition on said.

Bouchard credited swift action by his deputies for preventing greater loss of life, saying they arrived on the scene within minutes and moved straight toward the sound of gunshots. Crumbley, who did not resist, was disarmed and taken into custody minutes after the shooting began, he said.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago and Peter Szekely in New York; Additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Tyler Clifford in New York and Kat Jackson in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)