The parents of the teen charged in the Oxford High School shooting pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges Saturday morning, hours after community members gathered to mourn the four students who were shot and killed at the suburban Detroit high school.
A judge set bond at $500,000 each for James Crumbley, 45, and Jennifer Crumbley, 43, substantially more than defense attorneys had asked for. Each parent was charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter after Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said they bought the firearm used in the shooting for their son, Ethan Crumbley, 15, as a Christmas gift. He is accused of fatally shooting four students and injuring seven others on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the teen was accused of murder, terrorist acts and other offenses in an incident that investigators called a deliberate and methodical massacre.
At a Friday night vigil, thousands of people lit candles to remember the deceased. There was four minutes of silence to remember the lives of four people: Tate Myre (16, Hana St. Julia 14, Madisyn Balb (17), and Justin Shilling (17).
Funeral services were scheduled for the coming days, starting Saturday.
David Coulter, Oakland County Executive, stated to the crowd that the loss of life and damage done to survivors would be forever remembered. But so will the coming together as a community.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer stated that although the community experienced “one of Michigan’s worst weeks”, they also saw some of their best moments.
She stated, “We’ve witnessed the best in our children, who are stronger then we could ever have imagined,” We’ve witnessed the very best in teachers who were quick to respond and saved many lives. Our Meijer workers, who helped families reunite, were the best. The doctors, nurses, and faith leaders who helped us through this difficult and horrific time were the best. Our first responders, who were able to get there quickly, are the best. Michiganders from all walks of life have contributed money and are the best.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard stated Saturday that there was a threat against the Friday night candlelight vigil because of the “huge spike” in threats to the community following the shooting.
On Saturday, the Big Ten made its debut appearance in the championship game. the University of Michigan football team’s jerseys will include a patch with Oxford High School’s colors – blue and gold – and four hearts for the four slain students. The patch also will feature the letters “TM” and the number “42,” which was once worn by Tate Myre, an Oxford football player.
The Detroit Lions will pay tribute to the victims by displaying an Oxford-themed helmet sticker and offering a moment’s silence prior to their match against Minnesota Vikings.
This is what we know about Saturday.
Parents chargedMichigan shooting is so egregious that suspect’s parents were charged. That’s rare.
For the Victims:Oxford shooters killed honor students, athletes, and artists
Judge sets bond for suspect’s parents at combined $1M
Citing concerns that James and Jennifer Crumbley did not appear at an arraignment Friday, Judge Julie Nicholson of Rochester Hills District Court set bond at a combined $1 million. The two appeared for the arraignment via video from the Oakland County Jail.
Friday was U.S. Marshals Service’s “Wanted” poster day. Marshals Service issued “Wanted” posters and offered a reward for information leading to the Crumbleys’ arrests. They were found and arrested early Saturday in Detroit, a little more than two hours after someone saw their vehicle and called police.
The two were found inside a commercial building and were “distressed,” Detroit Police Chief James White told reporters. He stated that the two were unarmed.
White stated that police suspect someone let the Crumbleys in to the building. He suggested that those involved in helping the couple might face criminal prosecution.
The Crumbleys’ attorneys said in Saturday’s court appearance that their clients were not fleeing and the missed court appearance was the result of miscommunication.
Shannon Smith, one the attorneys for the couple said that their clients would absolutely surrender to police. It was a simple matter of logistics.
Bouchard said at a press conference Saturday that James and Jennifer Crumbley “weren’t looking for surrendering at that point.”
“Given that they were hiding in a warehouse in Detroit, it certainly raises my eyebrows,” the sheriff said.
Both parents remain in the custody of the facility along with their son. Bouchard stated that James, Jennifer, and Ethan Crumbley were all held separately, with no interaction.
Judge Julie Nicholson of Rochester Hills District Court cited concerns about flight risk before setting bond Saturday.
Nicholson explained that these charges “are very, very severe, there is no doubt about it.” Given the events of yesterday, and the fact defendants were required to be apprehended to make their appearance for arraignment purposes, the court has concerns about both the flight risk and the safety of the public.
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Family’s attorneys dispute claim gun was left unlocked
Prosecutors claimed that the gun used to shoot was found in an undisclosed drawer at the Crumbley home. The weapon had been purchased by the Crumbleys as a Christmas gift.
McDonald said at a news conference Friday that Ethan Crumbley’s parents didn’t ask where the gun was when they were called to the school the day of the shooting. A disturbing drawing that their son made about a firearm led to them being called by the school.
She added that their investigation revealed Ethan Crumbley researched ammunition while at school and was allowed to return to class after the meeting with his parents.
Prior to Oxford shootingMultiple times, officials repeatedly stated to parents that the school was safe.
The parents’ lawyers contested the claim that Ethan Crumbley had left the gun open. Smith stated that Ethan Crumbley was not allowed to have “free access”.
The couple’s attorneys, Smith and Mariell Lehman, released a statement before the arraignment reading in part: “While it’s human nature to want to find someone to blame or something to point to or something that gives us answers, the charges in this case are intended to make an example and send a message. … We intend to fight this case in the courtroom and not in the court of public opinion. “We know the truth and the whole story will win in the end.”
Fear, mental health concerns persist
Bouchard stated Saturday that the fear-stricken community remains in constant terror since the shooting. Bouchard stated that some people panicked at Friday’s candlelight vigil in memory of those who died.
“People are completely terrified. Bouchard explained that children in these families are often afraid. That’s just how they feel. This is terrifying for so many.
Bouchard stated that there had been specific threats, but they were not confirmed. Bouchard stated, “You are hurting an already struggling population.”
Bouchard claimed that deputies responding to the shooting had been “devastated.” He said that mental health professionals were flown into the area on Saturday.
“It’s not weakness to ask for help and to get help,” he said.
The Oxford Community Schools offers grief counseling to school members. Superintendent Tim Throne said in a letter Saturday.
Investigate the events in school before shooting
The events surrounding the shooting will be reviewed by a third party investigator.
Throne wrote Saturday to school communities that an independent security consultant would review the safety measures in place at the school.
After a meeting with his parents, Ethan Crumbley was permitted to go back to school the following the shooting.
“When parents were asked to bring their son home, they refused flatly and went without their son to go to work,” Throne stated.
Contributing: Dave Birkett, Darcie Moran, Liz Shepard, Bill Laitner, Susan Vela and Scott Talley, Detroit Free Press; Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY