Ethan Crumbley worried teachers and a counselor in Michigan for months prior to filming

Some teachers and a counselor at a Michigan high school were aware of a teenager’s troubling interest in guns and violence months before he was accused of fatally shooting four students and injuring others, a lawyer representing the victims’ families said , on Thursday.

“Ethan Crumbley showed signs, literally from the beginning of his school days, that he was a very troubled individual, to say the least,” Detroit attorney Ven Johnson said, citing affidavits in a civil lawsuit against the Oxford Community Schools and some staff members of Oxford High School.

Crumbley, now 16, will be tried next year as an adult on murder and other charges in the November 30 shooting.

A teacher said Crumbley drew what appeared to be an ammo magazine on a note card in late August 2021. Crumbley also responded in a poll that his favorite books included Making Bombs for Hitler, while Dexter and Breaking Bad were among his favorite TV shows.

Ethan Crumbley
Red flags surfaced in Crumbley’s schoolwork that he might be disturbed and was facing family issues.

About a week later, in an autobiographical commission for a Spanish teacher, he wrote that he “feels awful and that his family is a mistake,” Johnson quoted from an email the teacher sent to a school counselor.

The teacher who received the note card said in her statement that she only saw the drawing the day before the shooting. There appeared to be no follow-up to the Spanish teacher’s email in September urging the advisor to get in touch with Crumbley, Johnson said.

Prosecutors said Crumbley opened fire on other teenagers with a semi-automatic pistol in the hallway of the school, about 50 kilometers north of Detroit. The four students killed were 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin and 17-year-old Justin Shilling.

A memorial outside of Oxford High School on December 7, 2021 in Oxford, Michigan.
A memorial outside of Oxford High School on December 7, 2021 in Oxford, Michigan.
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Crumbley’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were charged with involuntary manslaughter and have pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors allege that the couple failed to keep the gun used in the shooting safe at home and failed to adequately care for their son when he showed signs of mental distress.

The day before the shooting, a teacher saw Ethan Crumbley checking his phone for ammunition in class. School officials left a voicemail to let his mother know.

On the morning of the shooting, Crumbley’s parents were called to school and confronted with his drawings, which included a gun and the words, “The thoughts don’t stop. Help me.” Authorities said the parents refused to take him home after the 13-minute meeting and were told to give him counseling.

Several parents who attended Johnson’s press conference in Detroit on Thursday said they were unaware of some of the details revealed in the statements.

“I see no excuse not to take these red flags very seriously,” said Jill Soave, mother of Justin Shilling. “We are learning all these months later that this could have been avoided. These children should be with us today. There is no excuse. Anyone with common sense could put the pieces together that something was wrong.”

William Myre, Tate Myre’s father, accused the school district of withholding information that could have been used to prevent the shooting.

Jennifer and James Crumbley
Ethan Crumbley’s parents are also on trial for withholding information that could have prevented the Oxford High School shooting.
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“In the meantime, we’re here to buy memorial shirts for our murdered child,” he said, holding up a blue T-shirt. “What are the Oxford Community Schools doing? Nothing. Nothing.”

Principal Ken Weaver said Thursday that the district was cooperating with the criminal investigation into the shooting.

“We are also fully cooperating with the civil process and will continue to do so,” Weaver said in a statement. “I remain hopeful that the numerous investigations, lawsuits and school board scrutiny will bring all the facts to light and provide the full transparency and accounting of events that our community wants and deserves.”

Johnson filed the civil lawsuit against the school district earlier this year. It also names the dean of studies at Oxford High School, two advisers and three teachers as accused. Ethan Crumbley worried teachers and a counselor in Michigan for months prior to filming


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