Michigan School Shooting Suspect’s Parents Plead Not Guilty To Involuntary Manslaughter Charges After Arrest

Michigan School Shooting Suspect’s Parents Plead Not Guilty To Involuntary Manslaughter Charges After Arrest


James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of a 15-year-old boy accused of shooting dead four at his Michigan high school pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter at an arraignment hearing Saturday, after police found them overnight hiding in a building in Detroit. 

Key Facts

James and Jennifer Crumbley each face four counts of involuntary manslaughter, with prosecutors seeking to hold them accountable for the shooting spree at Oxford High School in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, earlier this week that their son Ethan Crumbley is accused of carrying out, wounding seven in addition to killing four.

They were ordered held on $500,000 bond each.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said the suspect’s father legally purchased the 9mm Sig Sauer handgun used in the deadly shooting last week, and authorities say it was left unsecured in a drawer in the parents’ bedroom.

If convicted, the two could face a maximum 15 years behind bars.

Detroit police arrested the couple overnight after finding them hiding inside a commercial building, “distressed” and unarmed, Detroit Police Chief James White said at a news conference early Saturday morning.

The Crumbleys’ attorneys said in a statement to Forbes before the arraignment that the couple had “fully intended ” to turn themselves in first thing in the morning for the arraignment.

Big Number

18 million. That’s the number of guns Americans have purchased so far this year, the second highest in at least two decades, according to consulting group Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting. This year’s gun sales have so far been less than the record 22.8 million guns sold last year, but exceeded 16.7 million sold in 2016.

Key Background

The Crumbleys’ attorneys told Forbes by email that the “charges in this case are intended to make an example and send a message.” It is uncommon for the parents to be charged when an underage suspect uses their guns in a school shooting. Meanwhile, the suspect was charged on 24 counts, including four counts of first-degree murder and one terrorism charge. Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said on the morning of the shooting, the school had called the suspect’s parents in after a teacher found a note on his desk that read “the thoughts won’t stop, help me,” with drawings of a handgun, but they resisted school officials’ request that he leave the premises, and they did not search his bag to see if he had the gun. A day before the shooting spree, the school informed the suspect’s mother that her son was found looking online for ammunition. She responded to the school’s notice by texting her son: “LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”

Further Reading

Gun Sales Near Record Levels As U.S. Grapples With Another School Shooting (Forbes)

Parents of Mich. school shooting suspect in custody as police investigate possible accomplice (Washington Post)

Authorities Searching For Michigan School Shooting Suspect’s Parents Hours After Manslaughter Charges Filed (Forbes)

Michigan School Shooting Suspect’s Parents Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter (Forbes)

Michigan School Shooting Suspect Ethan Crumbley Charged With Terrorism, First-Degree Murder (Forbes)

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