The accused Michigan high school shooter convinced school officials ahead of the deadly rampage that violent drawings he made were for a “video game,” a letter released Saturday by the school shows.
“On the morning of Nov. 30, a teacher observed concerning drawings and written statements that have been detailed in media reports, which the teacher reported to school counselors and the Dean of students. The student was immediately removed from the classroom and brought to the guidance counselor’s office where he claimed the drawing was part of a video game he was designing and informed counselors that he planned to pursue video game design as a career,” a letter sent to the Oxford High School community from Oxford Community Schools superintendent Tim Thorne on Saturday states.
Ethan Crumbley, 15, allegedly shot and killed four students and injured seven others at Oxford High School. His mother allegedly texted him, “Ethan don’t do it” during the shooting, prosecutors said. (Oakland County Sheriff’s Office)
Accused shooter Ethan Crumbley, 15, and his parents met with school officials just hours before he allegedly opened fire on peers and school employees, killing four students and injuring seven other people.
“At no time did counselors believe the student might harm others based on his behavior, responses and demeanor, which appeared calm. In addition, despite media reports, whether or not the gun was in his backpack has not been confirmed by law enforcement to our knowledge nor by our investigation at this time,” the letter, published by WXYZ, said.
Ethan Robert Crumbley, 15, charged with first-degree murder in a high school shooting, poses in a jail booking photograph taken at the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac, Michigan, U.S. December 1, 2021, in a combination photograph with his parents Jennifer Lynn Crumbley and James Robert Crumbley who were taken into custody December 3, 2021. Oakland County Sheriff’s Office/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY
The letter added that Crumbley’s parents were told to take their son home that day, but “they flatly refused and left without their son, apparently to return to work.” The school also reportedly told the parents they had 48 hours to find counseling for their son or “the school would contact Child Protective Services.”
School officials were also allegedly not made aware of the family’s recent gun purchase, which was reportedly used in the shooting, and Crumbley was returned to class.
“While we understand this decision has caused anger, confusion and prompted understandable questioning, the counselors made a judgment based on their professional training and clinical experience and did not have all the facts we now know. Our counselors are deeply committed longstanding school members who have dedicated their lives to supporting students and addressing student mental health and behavioral issues,” the letter continued.
A third party will investigate how Crumbley interacted with the school employees and peers ahead of the shooting, according to the letter.
OXFORD, MICHIGAN – DECEMBER 03: People attend a vigil downtown to honor those killed and wounded during the recent shooting at Oxford High School on December 03, 2021 in Oxford, Michigan. Four students were killed and seven others injured on November 30, when student Ethan Crumbley allegedly opened fire with a pistol at the school. Crumbley has been charged in the shooting. Today his parents were also charged. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) (G)
Crumbley is facing a slew of charges following his prompt arrest on Nov. 30, including one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
He pleaded not guilty and is being held without bond.
His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were also charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each. They were apprehended on Saturday morning after an extensive manhunt when they didn’t show up for their arraignment Friday.
Each count is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a $7,500 fine. They both pleaded not guilty.
They are both being held on a $500,000 bond, with Oakland County District Judge Julie Nicholson citing concerns over flight risks.