Parents of alleged 15-year-old Michigan high school shooter charged with involuntary manslaughter

The Oakland County prosecutor has filed involuntary manslaughter charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley

Updated: December 3, 2021 - 12:40pm

A Michigan prosecutor on Friday filed involuntary manslaughter charges against the parents of 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley who, earlier this week, allegedly killed four students at Oxford High School and injured several more. Prosecutor Karen McDonald says the actions of the parents went "far beyond negligence."

Both James and Jennifer Crumbley has been charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter, which potentially carry sentences of up to 15-years in prison.

"The parents were the only individuals in the position to know the access to the weapons," said McDonald. The gun Ethan allegedly used had been purchased by his father, James,  just four days before the rampage. 

It is rare for a parent to be charged in a school shooting, even though most minors get weapons from a parent or relative's house. In this case, the semi-automatic gun used by Crumbley was reportedly purchased by his father, likely from a private seller, just days earlier on Black Friday. 

Investigators believe the attack was premeditated, citing both videos recorded by Crumbley and journal entries describing his intent to hurt his classmates.

Crumbley's parents had been called to the school earlier on the day of the shooting and instructed to get the teenager counseling within 48-hours, due to disturbing images teachers had found in his possession. About half an hour after the shooting at 1:22 p.m., his mother texted him, "Ethan, don't do it." 

Ethan was charged as an adult with 24 felony counts, including first-degree murder. On the teenager's behalf, a judge entered a not-guilty plea. 

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