OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The parents of the student who shot and killed his classmates in Oxford, Michigan, have been charged in the case.
The Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced Friday that the parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, had each been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, ABC News reported.
Their son, the suspected gunman, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, allegedly used his father’s semi-automatic handgun, a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol, in the Tuesday shooting that killed four and injured seven.
Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with one count of terrorism causing death; four counts of first-degree murder; seven counts of assault with intent to murder; and 11 counts of possession of a firearm in commission of a felony.
“While the shooter was the one who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there are other individuals who contributed to this, to the events on November 30, and it is my intention to hold them accountable,” the prosecutor said.
On November 21 a teacher in the school saw the future school shooter researching ammunition online. The school contacted Crumbley’s parents about it and their emails and calls were never returned.
It was later discovered that Jennifer Crumbley, his mother, texted her son “lol, I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught.”
And on the morning of the shooting one of his teacher’s saw a note on his desk that frightened her. The note was “a drawing of a semi-automatic handgun pointing at the words, ‘The thoughts won’t stop, help me.’ And another part of the note read ‘Blood everywhere.'”
“Between the drawing of the gun and the bullet is a drawing of a person who appears to have been shot twice and bleeding,” the prosecutor said. “Below that figure is a drawing of a laughing emoji. Further down the drawing are the words, ‘My life is useless,’ and to the right of that are the words, ‘The world is dead.'”
He was removed from the class and his parents were called in, but by the time a counselor got a hold of the picture the shooter had altered it.
“At the meeting, James and Jennifer Crumbley were shown the drawing and were advised that they were required to get their son into counseling within 48 hours,” the prosecutor said. “Both James and Jennifer Crumbley failed to ask their son if he had his gun with him or where his gun was located and failed to inspect his backpack for the presence of the gun, which he had with him.”
The parents left school while Ethan Crumbley returned to class, likely with the gun in his backpack, McDonald said.
Once news broke of a shooting at the school, McDonald said Jennifer Crumbley texted her son, “Ethan, don’t do it.”
James Crumbley called 911 to report that a gun was missing from his house and said he believed his son may be the shooter, McDonald said.
“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. When they fail to uphold that responsibility, there are serious and criminal consequences,” the prosecutor said.
David Chipman, a veteran Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent said that if the parents had acted unlawfully then they should be charged with a crime.
“As gun owners, we have a responsibility that when we acquire firearms we don’t put our neighbors, and in particular their children, at risk,” he said. “If a parent provided their car to an unlicensed teen for a night of drunken joy riding, no one would be shocked if a prosecutor sought to hold the adults accountable.”