DETROIT — A Michigan prosecutor on Friday filed involuntary manslaughter charges against the parents of the 15-year-old suspect in the Oxford High School shooting.
Jennifer and James Crumbley were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter after their son, Ethan, was accused of fatally shooting four students at the suburban Detroit school on Tuesday.
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald previously called Crumbley’s parent’s actions “far beyond negligence.”
The suspect, a sophomore at the suburban Detroit school, was charged Wednesday as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes in what investigators described as a methodical and deliberate massacre.
His father had purchased the 9mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 gun four days before the shooting, said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.
The gun “seems to have been just freely available” to Crumbley, McDonald told WJR-AM on Thursday.
“The parents were the only individuals in the position to know the access to weapons,” she added.
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McDonalds said this week in another interview, that there was more evidence not yet released in the case.
“Unfortunately, he was allowed to go back to class,” McDonald told WDIV-TV.
The suspect had been flagged twice by school personnel for “concerning behavior,” Bouchard said, with the first coming the day before the shooting and the second just hours before. Bouchard reported that the suspect’s parents came to school at 10:15 a.m. on the morning of the shooting in order to meet with him and other school staff.
We know what Friday is like:
Copicat threats in metro Detroit threaten schools and parents
Copycat threats circulated on social media and districts canceled classes Thursday out of caution for students’ safety.
A 17-year-old student in Southfield, about 30 miles from Oxford High School, was arrested Thursday with a semi-automatic pistol. A bomb threat was also made at South Lake High School, about 45 miles from Oxford, and prompted a police investigation.
“If you’re making threats, we’re going to find you,” Bouchard said during a news conference Thursday that was specifically called to address the estimated hundreds of copycat threats reported. “It is ridiculous you’re inflaming the fears and passion of parents, teachers, and the community in the midst of a real tragedy.”
Threats are being investigated by the FBI as well as Secret Service.
McDonald’s stated that false threats may lead to false threat of terrorist charges. This is a 20-year sentence felony as well as misdemeanor malicious use of the telephone.
Parents are trying to find a balance between ensuring the security of their children and not compromising their mental or emotional well-being.
Jill Dillon (51) recalls dropping her 14 year-old son at school Wednesday morning. “I felt like i was going to vomit,” she said. “It was very nauseating thinking I should be taking him somewhere safe. And is that really what he will be doing?
David Roden, a 14-year-old freshman at Northville High School, which stayed open Thursday, said the confusion of what’s real and what’s not was the scariest part.
Everyone was nervous. He stated, “It was just weird to be so close to this situation.”
Insta scam accounts are multiplying
Fake social media accounts claiming to be the 15-year-old charged in the Oxford High School shooting began popping up even before his name was released by law enforcement, and some made threats about additional shootings and plans for revenge.
While direct threats may lead to criminal charges, the spread of false information via deceiving accounts is a common problem in the wake of mass shootings, often is not illegal and sometimes does not violate social media platforms’ terms of service.
“Unfortunately, poor taste is not against the law,” said Lt. Mike Shaw of the Michigan State Police.
It is unlikely any social media accounts that chronicled Crumbley’s alleged criminal activity remain active on these platforms, said Cliff Lampe, a professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information.
Lampe stated that in active threats situations the accounts on social media of suspected perpetrators can be taken down using an opaque process. Law enforcement or platforms alert them.
The tendency of social media platforms to make some user accounts “disappear in the night” can help feed the creation of these fake accounts, Lampe said. However, the common practice of setting up “sock puppets” online would happen regardless, he said.
“Sock puppet accounts and spoof accounts have been part of internet culture for almost as long as the internet has been around,” Lampe said. You can read more about it here.
Contributing: Elisha Andersen, Detroit Free Press and The Associated Press