Michigan school’s actions ahead of deadly shooting under scrutiny
PONTIAC, Mich. — A third party will investigate events at Oxford High School that occurred before a school shooting that left four students dead and six other students and a teacher wounded, the Michigan district’s superintendent said, with the Michigan attorney general responding Sunday that her office could conduct it.
Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne said in a statement that he called for the investigation because parents have asked questions about “the school’s version of events leading up to the shooting.”
“It’s critically important to the victims, our staff and our entire community that a full and transparent accounting be made,” Throne said.
His comments came after a news conference Friday by Oakland Prosecutor Karen McDonald that detailed numerous warning signs from the student Ethan Crumbley charged in the deadly shooting, including his search for ammunition on a cellphone, and a drawing that showed a bullet with the words “blood everywhere” above a person who appears to have been shot.
“Of course he shouldn’t have gone back to that classroom. … I believe that is a universal position. I’m not going to chastise or attack, but yeah,” McDonald said. Asked if school officials may potentially be charged, she said: “The investigation’s ongoing.”
On Tuesday at the school, roughly 30 miles north of Detroit, the Crumbley was sent back to the classroom after a school meeting with his parents. Three hours later the shooting occurred.
Prosecutors charged his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter on Friday. They pleaded not guilty on Saturday and a judge imposed a combined $1 million bond.
Attorney General Dana Nessel said on Sunday her office has reached out to the school to investigate the shooting and events leading up to it, “Our attorneys and special agents are uniquely qualified to perform an investigation of this magnitude.”
The 9mm semi-automatic pistol used in the shooting was bought at a local gun shop on Black Friday by James Crumbley as an early Christmas present for his son, authorities said.
School officials became concerned about the younger Crumbley on Monday, a day before the shooting, when a teacher saw him searching for ammunition on his phone, McDonald told reporters.
On Tuesday, a teacher found a note on Ethan’s desk and took a photo. It was a drawing of a gun pointing at the words, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me,” McDonald said.
Ethan Crumbley and both his parents met with school officials at 10 a.m. Tuesday. His parents left, and Ethan went back to his classes.
By 1 p.m. Tuesday, the school erupted in gunshots, chaos and bloodshed.