Authorities are looking for the parents of a teenager accused of killing four people in a Michigan high school shooting earlier this week, the sheriff’s office confirmed on Friday.
The news came shortly after Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced that James and Jennifer Crumbley had been charged with four counts of manslaughter.
“While the shooter is the one who walked into high school and pulled the trigger, there are other people who contributed to the events of November 30, and I intend to hold them accountable as well,” McDonald said at a press conference.
She added, “Ownership of firearms is a right, and with that right comes a great responsibility. “
A lawyer for the parents had contacted authorities on Friday morning to say that James and Jennifer Crumbley would surrender if charged, Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.
Following the prosecutor’s announcement, the parents stopped contacting their lawyer. The lawyer told detectives that she repeatedly tried to reach clients by phone and text message without success.
“We have our Fugitive Apprehension Team, the FBI and US Marshals Service and others actively looking for them and we hope to have them in custody soon,” Bouchard said. “Running away and ignoring their lawyer certainly adds weight. to the charges. They cannot shirk their role in this tragedy.
The couple could drive a black 2021 Kia Seltos SUV with a Michigan license plate number, authorities have said.
James Crumbley bought the gun a few days before the shooting, according to the sheriff. McDonald told reporters that James Crumbley brought the suspect, Ethan Crumbley, with him to the store.
Under Michigan law, a manslaughter charge can be prosecuted if prosecutors believe someone contributed to a situation in which the harm or death was high. If found guilty, they face up to 15 years in prison.
Ethan Crumbley, 15, was charged as an adult with two dozen felonies, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism, in the shooting at Oxford High School Tuesday in Oakland County, about 30 miles north of Detroit.
During an appearance on NBC News NOW, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said Thursday it was “clearly a felony” if someone gives a gun to a minor.
In a separate appearance on MSNBC, the Oakland County District Attorney on Thursday said the teenager appeared to have “free access” to the gun.
“If you own a weapon or possess a weapon and you knowingly allow someone to have free access to it, and you have reason to believe that they could use it to injure someone, it is voluntary. and that’s gross negligence, and there are a lot of criminal consequences for that, ”McDonald said previously.
During Friday’s press conference, she said a teacher watched Ethan Crumbley search his cell phone for ammunition and alerted school officials. The school tried to contact her mother but could not reach her.
McDonald told reporters Jennifer Crumbley did not contact the school but text her son: “Lol. I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught. ”
Before the shooting on Tuesday, another teacher alerted school officials to a drawing the teacher found on Ethan Crumbley’s desk. It contained a drawing of a gun pointed at the words “thoughts will not stop, help me,” the prosecutor said.
There was also a drawing of a bullet with the words “blood everywhere” written on it and a drawing of a person who looked like he had been shot twice and was bleeding. McDonald said the person’s drawing included a laughing emoji and the phrases “my life is useless” and “the world is dead”.
After the teacher found the drawing, Ethan Crumbley was removed from the class and his parents were invited to come to school immediately. A counselor showed the drawing to parents, but Ethan Crumbley had already edited it and crossed out some pictures and words, according to McDonald’s.
Parents were told they had to ask Ethan Crumbley for a visit within 48 hours, McDonald said.
“James and Jennifer Crumbley resisted the idea of their son leaving school at that point,” she said. “Instead, James and Jennifer Crumbley left high school without their son. He went back to high school.
The prosecutor told reporters that the teen should not have been allowed to return to class.
The shooting happened just before 1:00 p.m., McDonald said after the news of an active high school shooter, Jennifer Crumbley texted her son at 1:22 p.m.: “Ethan, don’t do it. ”
At around 1:37 p.m., James Crumbley realized the gun – which was kept in an unlocked drawer in their bedroom – was gone and called the police to tell them he thought his son might be the shooter , according to McDonald’s.
The Crumbleys did not cooperate with authorities and did not give their son permission to speak with investigators, as is required for minors in Michigan, the county sheriff said.
“There is no conversation between us, the suspect or the parents,” Bouchard told NBC News Now Thursday.
A message left on a phone number listed as James Crumbley was not returned. A lawyer who represented Ethan Crumbley on his arraignment, Scott Kozak, did not respond to a request for comment.
Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with four counts of first degree murder, one count of terrorism causing death, seven counts of assault with intent to kill and 12 counts of possession of a weapon to fire during the commission of a crime.
Authorities identified the four students who were killed as 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; and Justin Shilling, 17. Seven other people, including a teacher, were seriously injured.
The motive for Tuesday’s shooting remains unclear, although authorities said they found a video on Ethan Crumbley’s phone he appeared to have taken the day before the shooting in which he discussed the murder of students.
In a video message released Thursday, Tim Throne, head of Oxford Community Schools, addressed the suspect called to the office before the shooting but said “no discipline was warranted”.