PONTIAC, Michigan, U.S. – The parents of a teenager accused of killing four students in a Michigan high school shooting were arrested early Saturday, hours after a prosecutor filed murder charges. involuntary against him, authorities said.
James and Jennifer Crumbley were captured in Detroit, Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputy Director Michael McCabe explained in a statement. A vehicle linked to the couple had been located by a Detroit business owner Friday night. They were found shortly after, and were expected to be booked into the county jail.
A prosecutor filed charges of involuntary manslaughter against the parents and alleged that they did not intervene on the day of the tragedy despite being confronted with a drawing and a chilling message – “Blood everywhere” – that was found on the child’s desk.
The Crumbleys committed “heinous” acts, from buying a gun on Black Friday and making it available to their son, Ethan Crumbley, to resisting taking him out of school when they were summoned hours before the shooting, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen said. McDonald.
“I hope parents and everyone have humanity and step in and stop a possible tragedy,” he added. “The conclusion I draw is that there was absolute reason to believe that this individual was dangerous and disturbed.”
Authorities said mid-afternoon that they were looking for the couple. Police Chief Mike Bouchard said the Crumbleys’ attorney, Shannon Smith, had agreed to arrange for their arrest if charges were filed, but had not been able to reach them.
Smith assured however that the Crumbleys were not fleeing and that they had left the city earlier in the week “for their own safety”.
“They will return to the area to be processed,” Smith told The Associated Press.
Then, on Friday night, federal marshals announced a reward of up to $ 10,000 for information leading to the couple’s arrest.
According to McCabe, the informant in Detroit spotted the car and called 911. A woman who was nearby escaped when the citizen called authorities, he added.
Earlier, the prosecutor had given the most accurate account to date of what happened before the shooting, three days after four students were killed and others were injured at Oxford High School, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north. from Detroit.
15-year-old Ethan Crumbley emerged from a downtown bathroom with a pistol that he shot at students in the hallway, investigators said. He is accused, as an adult, of murder, terrorism and other crimes.
Under Michigan law, a manslaughter charge can be brought against parents if authorities believe that someone contributed to a situation where there was a high probability of harm or death.
In the United States, parents are rarely charged in school shootings involving their children, even when most minors have obtained guns from the home of a parent or other relative, experts say.
School authorities became concerned about the young Crumbley on Monday, the day before the shooting, when a teacher saw him using his cell phone to search for ammunition, prosecutor McDonald said.
The school contacted Jennifer Crumbley, who later wrote her son a text message that read, “I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught, “according to the prosecutor.
On Tuesday, a teacher found a note on Ethan’s desk and took a photo of it. It was a picture of a gun pointed at the words: “Thoughts don’t stop. Help me, ”McDonald said.
There was also a drawing of a bullet, he added, with the phrase “Blood everywhere” at the top.
Between the gun and the bullet was a person who appeared to have been shot twice and was bleeding. He also wrote the phrases “My life is useless” and “The world is dead,” according to the prosecutor.
McDonald stressed that the school quickly arranged a meeting with Ethan and his parents, who were told to take him to therapy within 48 hours.
The prosecutor noted that the Crumbleys did not ask the young man about the weapon or search his backpack, and “resisted the idea of their son leaving school at that time.” The teenager returned to class and later carried out the shooting.
“The notion that a father can read those words and also know that his son had access to a deadly weapon that they gave him is inconceivable, it is criminal,” said the prosecutor.
Jennifer Crumbley texted her son after the shooting that said “Ethan, don’t do it,” McDonald added.