School shooting parents charged: James and Jennifer Crumbley arrested after son allegedly killed 4 people at Michigan high school

Firearms used in school shootings in the US often come from the homes of young perpetrators, experts say, but parents are rarely charged for the violence that occurred.

That’s what makes the case against Ethan Crumbley’s parents so uncommon, following the fatal shooting of four students at Oxford High School in southeastern Michigan. Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said Jennifer and James Crumbley passed up the opportunity to intervene, hours before the bloodshed.

They were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, while Ethan, 15, was charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other counts.

RELATED: Ethan Crumbley’s Parents Arrested in Detroit After Son Charged with Michigan School Shooting


Crumbley’s parents were arrested early Saturday, and their attorneys have not yet commented on the shooting or the allegation.

Here are the problems parents face:

What do we know about the gun?

According to investigators, the semi-automatic pistol used in Tuesday’s shooting was purchased by James Crumbley on November 26 while his son was standing in sales at the store.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, Jennifer Crumbley called it on social media a “Christmas gift” for her son, and Ethan posted a photo of it on social media, calling it her “new beauty.” him, McDonald said.

With very limited exceptions, minors in Michigan are not allowed to own firearms. But there’s no Michigan law that requires owners to lock guns away from children.

“So do many states. There are 23 states plus Washington, DC, that have some form of safe storage law,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Is involuntary manslaughter hard to prove?

“It’s an unusual allegation,” said Eve Brensike Primus, who teaches criminal procedure at the University of Michigan law school.

Police say Ethan Crumbley emerged from a bathroom and began shooting other students in the hallways of Oxford High School. A few hours earlier, he and his parents had met with school officials. A teacher found a drawing on her desk with a gun pointed at the words, “Thoughts won’t stop. Help me,” according to the prosecutor.

Ethan, who was not disciplined, was asked for counseling but was allowed to remain at the school. McDonald said his backpack was not checked for weapons.

SEE MORE: Michigan school officials met with the parents of the alleged gunman about conduct related to the day of the shooting.

Primus said authorities must point out parental negligence and the cause, or action, of something.

“The prosecutor will need facts to support the argument that these parents really knew that there was a risk that their son would pick up a gun and shoot people dead,” she said. “It’s not just their son that got in trouble in some way. This is a murder charge that carries many years in prison. This is not a petty crime.”

In 2000, a Flint man denied involuntary manslaughter after a 6-year-old boy living with him found a gun in a shoebox and killed a classmate.

Why aren’t parents charged more often?

A 2019 review by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security found that firearms came from the home of a parent or loved one in 76% of school assaults involving firearms. In about half, the guns are easily accessible.

However, laws aimed at restricting gun access are not always enforced and to varying degrees, experts say.

“Our laws don’t really adapt to the reality of school shootings, and what we’ve come up with most recently are those laws,” said Kris Brown, president of the gun control advocacy group Brady. prevent children from accessing this”.

RELATED: Michigan Shooting Victims: What We Know About 4 Oxford High School Students Killed

In 2020, the mother of an Indiana teen was placed on probation for not leaving her gun out of the house after her mentally ill son threatened to kill a student. He opened fire inside his school in 2018. No one was hurt but the boy killed himself.

In Washington state, the father of a boy who killed four students at a high school in 2014 has been found guilty of illegally possessing a firearm. He was not charged with the shooting, although one of his guns was used.

Copyright © 2021 by Associated Press. Copyright Registered. School shooting parents charged: James and Jennifer Crumbley arrested after son allegedly killed 4 people at Michigan high school

Dais Johnston

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