The search for the Michigan school shooting suspect's parents

By Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 6:02 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021
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2:53 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

Prosecutor outlines timeline leading to charges against Michigan school shooting suspect's parents

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph and Adrienne Vogt

During a Friday news conference, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald detailed events leading up to charges of involuntary manslaughter against the parents of Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley.

McDonald called the actions of the parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, "egregious," saying that "gun owners have a responsibility."

Four students died in Tuesday's shooting.

Here's a timeline of how the events unfolded, according to the prosecutor:

  • Nov. 26: Ethan Crumbley's father, James Crumbley, purchased a gun with his son present. 
  • On or about Nov. 26: Ethan Crumbley posted photos of a semi-automatic gun on social media with a caption: “Just got my new beauty today. SIG SAUER 9mm.”
  • On or about Nov. 27: Jennifer Crumbley, Ethan Crumbley's mother, made a social media post that read, “mom and son day testing out his new Christmas present.”
  • Nov. 29: A teacher at Oxford High School observed Ethan searching for ammunition on his phone and reported that information to school officials. His parents did not reply when the school attempted to contact them. Later, Jennifer Crumbley exchanged texts with Ethan stating, “LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”
  • Nov. 30: On the morning of the shooting, Ethan’s teacher came across a note that “alarmed her to the point that she took a picture of it on her cell phone.” The note contained “a drawing of a semiautomatic handgun pointing at the words ‘the thoughts won’t stop. help me.’" Also included in the note was a drawing of a bullet with “blood everywhere” written above it. Between the gun and the bullet is a drawing of a person who appears to have been shot twice and bleeding with a laughing emoji under it. The note also has “my life is useless” and “the world is dead” scrawled on it.
  • The parents were “immediately summoned to the school." A school counselor removed Ethan from class with his backpack and obtained the note, but the drawings of the gun, bloody figure and writings were all “altered.” At the meeting with school officials, his parents were shown the drawing and were told they had to submit their son to counseling within 48 hours. His parents did not ask the whereabouts of the gun and did not to inspect his backpack for the gun which he had with him, according to McDonald. His parents “resisted” the idea of taking Ethan out of school and left without him.

Read more about the charges against the parents here.

12:51 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

Prosecutor: Suspect's parents left school without son after being told of his behavior morning of shooting

Oakland County, Michigan, Prosecutor Karen McDonald outlined some of the key events that took place on the day of the shooting.

A teacher of shooting suspect, Ethan Crumbley, found a note on his desk on the morning of the shooting that "alarmed her to the point she took a picture of it on her cell phone."

She said the note included a drawing of a semiautomatic handgun pointing at the words, "the thoughts won't stop, help me." The note also included a section with a drawing of a bullet with the words "blood everywhere."

The parents of the suspect "were immediately summoned" to the school, McDonald said. The prosecutor noted that the suspect altered the note before it was retrieved by a counselor.

"At the meeting James and Jennifer Crumbley were shown the drawing and were advised that they were required to get the — their son into counseling within 48 hours," she said.

The prosecutor said the parents "failed to ask their son if he had his gun with him or where his gun was located and failed to inspect his backpack for the presence of the gun which he had with him."

The parents resisted the idea of their son leaving the school at that time and they left the school without him, she added. He was returned to the classroom.

1:50 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

Prosecutor on why she filed charges against suspect's parents: "The facts of this case are so egregious"

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald explained why she decided to file charges against the parents.

"I have tremendous compassion and empathy for parents who have children struggling," she said Friday at a news conference. "I am, by no means, saying that an active shooter situation should always result in a criminal prosecution against parents. But the facts of this case are so egregious."

She added: "This doesn't just impact me as a prosecutor and lawyer, it impacts me as a mother. The notion that a parent could read those words and also know that their son had access to a deadly weapon that they gave him is unconscionable. And I think it's criminal." 

12:35 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

Shooting suspect's parents expected to be arraigned on charges at 4 p.m. ET Friday

From Mark Morales

Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley’s parents are expected to be arraigned at 4 p.m. ET Friday on four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Lt. Tim Willis, head of the special investigations unit at the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, presented the charges to Judge Julie Nicholson, who signed off on the charges.

Willis told reporters after the proceeding that law enforcement is planning to arrest the parents.  

12:36 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

Actions of Michigan school shooting suspect's parents were "criminal," prosecutor says

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said charging the parents of the Michigan high school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter sends a message that "gun owners have a responsibility."

"When they fail to uphold that responsibility, there are serious and criminal consequences. As we work together to honor the lives lost and all of those impacted by the evil acts this week, justice for the victims and their families is at the forefront of today's announcement. We need to do better in this country. We need to say enough is enough for our kids, our teachers, parents, for all of us in this community and the communities across this nation," McDonald said in a news conference.

McDonald said that anyone who had the opportunity to prevent the shooting at Oxford High School that resulted in four deaths should've done so.

She said the parents' actions were "criminal."

"I have tremendous compassion and empathy for parents who have children who are struggling and at risk for whatever reason. And I am no means saying an active shooter situation should always result in a criminal prosecution against parents. But the facts of this case are so egregious, reading this document, looking at it, reading the words 'help me, with a gun, blood everywhere,' this doesn't just have impact [on] me as a prosecutor and lawyer, it impacts me as a mother. The notion that a parent could read those words and also know their son had access to a deadly weapon, that they gave him, is unconscionable and I think it's criminal. It is criminal," she said.
12:51 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

Mother texted "Don't do it" to suspected shooter, prosecutor says

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of the suspected Michigan shooter, texted her son not to open fire at Oxford High School, according to Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald.

McDonald said James and Jennifer Crumbley met with school officials a few hours before the shooting about concerning behavior. The prosecutor said the parents left the school without their son and he returned to the classroom.

When the news of the active shooter had been made public, Jennifer Crumbley texted her son, "Ethan, don't do it," McDonald said.

Additionally, "James Crumbley called 911 reporting that a gun was missing from his house, and he believed his son may be the shooter," McDonald said.

McDonald said the investigation found that the gun purchased by the shooter's father was stored in an unlocked drawer in James and Jennifer's bedroom.

3:16 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

Prosecutor: School officials had informed Michigan shooting suspect's parents about their son's behavior

After the Michigan shooting suspect, Ethan Crumbley, posted about his gun on social media, his mother, Jennifer Crumbley also created a social media post, saying her son was "testing out his new Christmas present," Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said Friday as she announced the charges that her office is bringing against his parents.

When a teacher reported that Ethan Crumbley was found searching for ammunition on his phone during class on Nov. 29, his mother was contacted by school officials.

"Jennifer Crumbley was contacted via voicemail by school personnel regarding the son's inappropriate internet search. School personnel indicate they followed that voicemail up with an e-mail but received no response from either parent," McDonald said.

"Thereafter, Jennifer Crumbley exchanged text messages about the incident with her son on that day, stating, 'lol, I'm not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught,'" McDonald added.

Correction: An earlier post incorrectly stated the date the suspect was reported searching for ammunition on his phone.

12:26 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

Michigan school shooting suspect was with dad at time of gun purchase, prosecutor says

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Oakland County, Michigan, Prosecutor Karen McDonald said that Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley was with his father while purchasing the gun that was used in the shooting.

"James Crumbley purchased a Sig Sauer 9mm model SP 2022 from Acme Shooting Goods in Oxford, Michigan, on Nov. 26th, 2021. A store employee confirms that Ethan Crumbley was present with James at the time of the purchase," McDonald announced.

1:22 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

Prosecutor: Charges intended to hold "other individuals who contributed to this" accountable

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald leaves after addressing the media in her office on Friday, December 3, 2021, in Pontiac, Michigan. McDonald filed involuntary manslaughter charges against Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, who is accused of killing four students at a Michigan high school. 
Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald leaves after addressing the media in her office on Friday, December 3, 2021, in Pontiac, Michigan. McDonald filed involuntary manslaughter charges against Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, who is accused of killing four students at a Michigan high school.  (Carlos Osorio/AP)

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said that her office is bringing charges against the parents of Ethan Crumbley, the 15-year-old accused of shooting several people at Oxford High School, to hold people accountable and prevent other events from happening in the future.

While the shooter was the one who entered the school and pulled the trigger, "there are other individuals who contributed to this," McDonald said at a news conference on Friday.

"It's my intention to hold them accountable," she said.

The weapon authorities said was used in the shooting, a 9mm Sig Sauer SP2022 semiautomatic pistol, was purchased by Crumbley’s father on Friday, four days before shots rang out at the school.

"I have shared previously and I will reiterate today that gun ownership is a right and with that right, comes great responsibility," McDonald said.

McDonald said previously that means securing a gun properly, ensuring ammunition is kept separate, among other legal responsibilities.