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Parents of Michigan school shooting suspect charged with involuntary manslaughter

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Posted at 11:09 AM, Dec 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-03 13:09:52-05

The parents of the teen charged with fatally shooting four people and wounding seven others at a Michigan high school have been charged in connection with the rampage, authorities said Friday. James and Jennifer Crumbley have each been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, they said.

"While the shooter was the one who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there are other individuals who contributed to the events on November 30 and it's my intention to hold them accountable as well," Karen McDonald, the Oakland County prosecutor, said in a news conference Friday.

The prosecutor said a teacher reported Ethan for using his phone to search for ammunition online on November 21. Jennifer and James were notified by email and voicemail but did not respond to school officials, she said.

McDonald read text messages between the suspect and his mother. "LOL I'm not mad at you," Jennifer told Ethan after the teacher reported him, according to McDonald. "You have to learn not to get caught."

McDonald said police found evidence on social media and in personal messages that proved Jennifer and James bought the gun for Ethan as a Christmas present. The gun was left unlocked in a dresser in the parents' room, she said.

School officials also met with Jennifer and James on the morning of the shooting to discuss an "alarming" note that depicted a drawing of a semi-automatic handgun and a bloody body, McDonald said. Jennifer and James were told they were required to enter Ethan into counseling in the next 48 hours, an idea they "resisted," according to McDonald.

The suspect, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, faces 24 charges in the shooting, including four counts of first-degree murder. Crumbley made his first court appearance on Wednesday and entered a plea of not guilty.

"The parents were the only individuals in the position to know the access to weapons," McDonald said Thursday. The gun "seems to have been just freely available to that individual."