Ethan Crumbley was identified by officials as the Oxford High School shooting suspect who authorities allege killed four students and injured six other students and one teacher who suffered minor injuries on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced in a press conference Wednesday afternoon that Crumbley, 15, is being charged as an adult with four counts of first-degree murder, one count of terrorism causing death, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in commission of a felony. She said other charges may be filed.
The terrorism charge, according to McDonald, is “not a usual, a typical charge” and “reflects” that “all the children who ran, screaming, hiding under their desks … all the children at home right now, who can’t eat and can’t sleep and can’t imagine a world where they could ever step foot back in that school … are victims, too, and so are their families and so is the community.”
The suspect’s arraignment, where he appeared in an anti-suicide smock, was held December 1, 2021. You can watch it here.
The Associated Press noted that school shooting suspects in other states have not faced terrorism charges but the Michigan terrorism law has been invoked before, including against a “teen accused of plotting a massacre at his Macomb County high school” in 2005 “in a county-filed case that appeared to be one of the first in the country to apply anti-terrorism laws to threats of school violence.”
The parents are both facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the shooting, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced at a press conference on Friday, December 3, 2021.
James and Jennifer Crumbley were arrested by U.S. Marshalls following a manhunt Friday, and the couple pleaded not guilty to their charges. James, Jennifer and Ethan Crumbley are all lodged in the same jail now, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said during a news conference Saturday, December 4, 2021, but each of them is in isolation.
“No talking,” Bouchard said during the news conference. “No interaction.”
The deceased victims were identified on the day of the shooting as 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana and 16-year-old Tate Myre, officials said. A fourth victim, 17-year-old Justin Shilling, died a day after the shooting.
“We have to do better,” McDonald said in the press conference. “How many times does that have to happen? How many times?”
She said that the public has become desensitized to school shootings, and that she has been thinking about the parents who said goodbye to their children Tuesday morning, expecting they would be safe.
“They were innocent children who went to school,” she said, and said her office would seek justice for the victims.
“Hopefully, we are going to start an ongoing conversation on gun control and move the needle,” she said.
Crumbley was being held as a juvenile in the hours after the shooting while McDonald reviewed the case. The Detroit News and other Michigan news outlets did not initially name the suspect but referenced an archive article leading to his identification, which McDonald confirmed.
“In a 2017 article in a local newspaper, the boy appears as a bespectacled fifth-grader at an international baccalaureate school. At the time, he was part of a group of students working on a project about poverty and expressed sympathy for the homeless and hungry,” The Detroit News reported.
Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said at a November 30 press conference that they received about 100 calls to 911 reporting an active shooter at the high school just before 1 p.m. Parents were alerted through a school alert system, and several parents reported receiving frantic calls and texts from their children.
Oxford is a small village about 30 miles north of Detroit with a population of less than 3,400 people.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Crumbley Made Threats on Social Media & in a Journal Indicating He Planned the Shooting, Authorities Said
Crumbley was denied bail at his arraignment Wednesday evening, and Judge Nancy T. Carniak agreed to transfer Crumbley from Oakland County Children’s Village, a juvenile detention facility, to the county jail. He will be separated from adults at the jail, officials said.
Crumbley sat quietly throughout the arraignment, slightly hunched with his hands in his lap. He wore a mask and anti-suicide smock and told the judge he understood his charges and his rights.
He entered a plea of not guilty through his defense attorney, Scott Kovak. Kovak did not contest the request from Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mark Keast to deny bail in the case.
Keast told the judge he watched the surveillance footage from the shooting, which showed Crumbley enter the bathroom with a backpack and leave with a gun. Keast said Crumbley “methodically and deliberately” aimed the gun at students, pointing the gun inside classrooms and at students “who hadn’t had the opportunity to escape.”
“What’s depicted on that video – honestly, judge, I don’t have the words to describe how horrific that was,” Keast said.
Oakland County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Tim Willis told the judge, as he read Crumbley’s charges, that the teen made threats on social media the day before the shooting and in a journal that was collected into evidence.
Keast said the journal, social media post and Crumbley’s decision to bring a gun to school that day indicated the shooting was premeditated. Keast alleged Crumbley brought the gun to school “with the intent to murder as many students as he could.”
Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said at an earlier press conference that Crumbley’s parents told authorities they did not want their son to speak with them. Consent from parents is required for juveniles, McCabe said, and the teen invoked his Sixth Amendment rights not to speak to police without an attorney present.
“He did not give us any resistance when he was taken into custody,” McCabe said.
But as their investigation continued, McCabe said, Crumbley “is not cooperating with us.” Officials conducted a search warrant at the suspect’s house in the hours after the shooting.
“We will get to the bottom of this,” McCabe said.
One teacher was among the eight wounded victims. She was discharged with a grazing bullet wound injury, McCabe said Tuesday night.
McCabe addressed rumors that there was a prior threat made by the student that was ignored by officials and said there was no evidence to support that.
“Please don’t believe everything you hear,” he said.
But the Detroit Free Press reported some students stayed home the day of the shooting because they heard rumors about a threat.
Robin Redding, the parent of a 12th-grader, told the Associated Press her son stayed home on the day of the deadly violence.
“He was not in school today,” she told the news outlet. “He just said that ‘Ma I don’t feel comfortable. None of the kids that we go to school with are going today.'”
Jody Job, chair of the Oakland County Democratic Party and a candidate for the state house in 2020, said her son stayed home because “he felt like something was going to go down,” according to the Detroit Free Press.
“I think there was just a level of discomfort with some of the students,” she told the publication. “I don’t know what they’re communicating to each other. That’s a whole other world I’m not a part of.”
WWJ 950 News Radio was one of the first to report the shooting, saying a parent called the radio station to say there was an active shooter at the high school.
“There’s a massive police presence on the scene at the school, Tuesday afternoon, on N. Oxford Rd. Tipsters counted dozens of emergency vehicles headed north on Lapeer road toward Oxford,” the radio station reported in the minutes after the shooting.
2. Crumbley Was Featured in the Local Newspaper as a 5th-Grader for a Project on Poverty & Hunger
When Crumbley was a fifth-grade student at Lakeville Elementary School in 2017, his name was in the local newspaper for positive reasons. Reporters covering an exhibit where students presented solutions to real-life problems featured Crumbley for his group project focused on poverty and hunger.
“I see people that are on the streets sometimes that are homeless and hungry, and so I feel like I should take action and help them,” he said.
Four years later, officials allege, the fifth-grader with a desire to help those in need became a killer.
Many parents received the first word about the shooting through a school alert system, according to Fox 2 Detroit.
“According to an alert sent out to Oxford parents, an active emergency has been reported at the school and it has gone into emergency protocols and put the school into lockdown. Oxford Community Schools confirms the lockdown but would not elaborate if students are in danger or injured,” Fox 2 Detroit reported.
3. Crumbley Was a Member of a Middle Class Family With Married Parents Who Both Worked
Crumbley’s mother, Jennifer Crumbley, wrote about their family structure in a 2016 blog post. The article, “Dear Mr. Trump,” was written shortly after the 2016 election.
You see Mr. Trump I can go on and on, in fact I used to think Democrat. I don’t believe in God and Im quite opposite of your typical ‘republican’. But now I am 38 years old. I have a family. My husband and I both work full time jobs. I have watched our insurance premiums double. I cannot afford to buy into this Obamacare. For my family its over $600 a month with deductibles. We bust our a** Mr. Trump. I pay taxes, my husband pays his child support, I donate to charities.. We are good f****** Americans that cannot get ahead. And what makes me sick, is people that come over here from other countries and get free everything.
Crumbley’s father, James Crumbley, works as an account executive at an office supply company in the Detroit area, according to his LinkedIn page. His Facebook page says he previously worked as a business development executive. Crumbley’s mom, Jennifer Crumbley, works as a real estate agent, according to her Realtor.com profile and a now-deleted realtor bio from her Clarkston, Michigan, real estate company.
McCabe said during the press conference that Crumbley was not injured in the shooting. McCabe said he was taken into custody within five minutes of the first shot fired. He did not resist, surrendering to authorities, McCabe said.
“He did not give us any resistance when he was taken into custody,” McCabe said.
During the news conference Tuesday afternoon, McCabe said there is regularly a sheriff’s deputy stationed at the school, and that deputy — along with another assisting deputy — took the suspect into custody.
Michigan state troopers were also called to the scene to assist, the police department wrote on Twitter. MSP Metro Detroit shared information from the early investigation on Twitter.
The Twitter thread said:
The Michigan State Police is aware of the incident taking place at Oxford High School. The Oakland County Sheriff Office is the primary agency for this incident. There is always a large amount of confusion and misinformation as these on going incidents unfold.
The following is from the Oakland County Sheriff Office:
‘We responded to an active shooter at Oxford High School in Oxford Township at 12:55PM today. We have one suspected shooter in custody along with a handgun. We do not believe there are any other at this time.’
‘There are multiple victims (4-6). No confirmed fatal shooting victims at this time. …
‘We are still doing a secondary search of the school for any further victims. All evacuated students will be located at the Meijer store for reunification with parents or relatives.’ Make sure to follow official reports for the most accurate information.
Students were being taken from the high school by bus, according to Click on Detroit.
4. School Officials Met With Crumbley the Day Before the Shooting & the Morning of the Shooting for ‘Concerning’ Behavior
Crumbley met with school officials twice in the 48 hours leading up to the shooting, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a press conference Wednesday. Bouchard said law enforcement was not notified of the “concerning” behavior until after the shooting.
“We have since learned that the school did have contact with the student the day before and the day of the shooting for behavior in the classroom that they felt was concerning,” Bouchard said during the news conference.
“In fact, the parents were brought in the morning of the shooting and had a face-to-face meeting with the school. The content of that meeting obviously is part of the investigation,” he said.
Bouchard would not elaborate on the behavior and said no previous incidents were noted in Crumbley’s file.
Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said at a press conference that no motive would be immediately released in the shooting. He did not say whether a motive had been determined. The suspect asked for an attorney, McCabe said.
The undersheriff told Fox 2 Detroit within an hour of the shooting that between four and six people were injured. A suspect was taken into custody, he said at the time, and authorities recovered a handgun, the news outlet reported. The high school was placed on lockdown.
WXYZ reported parents were asked not to go to Oxford High School. Instead, they were asked to pick up evacuated students at Meijer on N. Lapeer Road.
Just before 2 p.m., the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office told the news outlet they were conducting a secondary search for any additional victims.
5. Ethan Crumbley Was Struggling in School in 2016, His Mom Wrote in a Blog
Crumbley was struggling in school when his mom wrote a blog post in 2016 called “Dear Mr. Trump” shortly after the 2016 election. She addressed multiple political concerns, including common core learning.
You see Mr. Trump, I need you to stop common core. My son struggles daily, and my teachers tell me they hate teaching it but the HAVE to. Their pay depends on these stupid f****** test scores. I have to pay for a Tutor, why? Because I can’t figure out 4th grade math. I used to be good at math. I can’t afford a Tutor, in fact I sacrifice car insurance to make sure my son gets a good education and hopefully succeeds in life. My parents teach at a school where their kids come from illegal immigrant parents. Most of their parents are locked up. They don’t care about learning and threaten to kill my mom for caring about their grades. Do you realize Mr. Trump that they get free tutors, free tablets from our Government so they can succeed. Why cant my son get those things, do we as hard working Americans not deserve that too?
Bouchard said at a press conference that they did not have evidence Crumbley had been bullied in school.
“I have also asked the school if they had any records of him being bullied, and the coordinator of anti-bullying programs had no information that he’d been bullied by anyone,” he said.
Parents reported that they had received frantic calls and texts from their children at Oxford High School as early word spread of an active shooter.
“My daughter just texted us saying there is an active shooter at her old high school… Currently all police departments are responding. I can’t count the number of sirens I heard heading that way. Oxford High School,” one person wrote on Twitter, identifying himself as a parent of a former student.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer described the shooting as an “unimaginable tragedy” during the news conference.
“I think this is an important moment for us to support one another, to support our community,” she said.
Michigan Senator Rosemary Bayer wrote on Twitter she was “absolutely horrified” at the reports of the shooting.
“Absolutely horrified by what is happening. On the phone right now getting details and offering assistance,” Bayer wrote. “Oxford High School on lockdown due to active shooting situation, reports of multiple victims.”
Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence wrote on Twitter her “heart breaks” over the school shooting.
“My heart breaks for the Oxford High School community and I am monitoring this tragedy closely,” she wrote.
Representative Haley Stevens wrote on Twitter, “I am praying for the Oxford High School community and will continue to monitor this tragic situation. Thank you to our Oakland County first responders and those who are working to reunite students with their families. Absolutely heartbreaking news.”