Parents of US School Sniper Arrested

The parents of the teenager who opened fire at his school in Michigan, northern United States, leaving four dead, were arrested Saturday after indictment for manslaughter. James and Jennifer Crumbley, the young man’s parents, were indicted on four counts of manslaughter each, and if convicted, they face up to 15 years in prison.

After a vast search operation by the police and the FBI, they were located in an industrial complex in Detroit, about 60 kilometers from the shooting, near their vehicle, which was found shortly before.

The Crumbleys’ lawyers said on Friday the couple would turn themselves in to authorities and were not fleeing but had left town on the night of the shooting “for their own safety”. But the fact that they took out $4,000 and turned off their cell phones triggered the alert, police sources told CNN.

15-year-old Ethan Crumbley “was the one who walked into high school and pulled the trigger”, but “there are other people who contributed to the events of November 30 and it is my intention to hold them accountable as well,” he said in Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald Friday.

“These allegations are intended to hold the people who contributed to this tragedy accountable and also to send the message that gun owners have a responsibility,” added the pormotor.

Shooting attacks in schools remain a recurrent scourge in the United States, a country where the right to have guns is guaranteed by the Constitution. Four students, aged between 14 and 17, were killed and six others were injured as well as a teacher in the shooting attack that took place after noon on Tuesday in the small town of Oxford, 40 miles north of Detroit.

Ethan Crumbley, who turned himself in to the police with no resistance, was charged with “murder” and “terrorist act” and could spend the rest of his life in prison as he is prosecuted as if he were of legal age.

“Have to learn not to get caught”

James Crumbley had bought his son’s semiautomatic pistol, a nine-millimeter Sig Sauer, four days before the tragedy, on Black Friday, the traditional day of deep discounts that kicks off the holiday shopping season.

Young Crumbley, who was with his father when he bought the gun at a local store, then posted a photo of the pistol on his Instagram page. “I just got my new beauty today,” he wrote, along with a heart emoji.

Over the weekend, Jennifer Crumbley posted images on social media highlighting that her son was “trying out his new Christmas present”. Days before the crime, Jennifer was called by the school after they found her son doing an internet search for ammunition. She didn’t answer the call. Jennifer Crumbley later exchanged text messages about the incident with her son, telling him, “I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”

According to police, the young man recorded a video on his cell phone the day before the shooting, in which he announced his intention to use his weapon at school, but did not share this content. On the day of the attack, Ethan Crumbley was called with his parents by school officials, who viewed with “concern” a note found by a teacher on the teenager’s desk, McDonald said.

A drawing of a semi-automatic pistol and bullets, amid sentences such as “Thoughts won’t stop. Help me.” Elsewhere, amid images of bullets was written: “Blood everywhere”, “My life is useless” and “The world is dead”. School officials told the parents that they should take the young man to therapy within 48 hours.

“Ethan, don’t do this”

“The idea that a father could read these words, knowing that his son had access to a deadly weapon he was given is inconceivable and I think it’s a crime,” prosecutor McDonald said Friday. She also blamed James and Jennifer Crumbley for not asking their son if he took his gun with him, nor inspecting his backpack.

McDonald said the priests refused to take the son home and he went back to class. A short time later, he came out of a bathroom with his gun, which was hidden. McDonald said that when Jennifer Crumbley learned of the attack, she texted her son, saying, “Ethan, don’t do this.”

When James Crumbley heard the news, he called the 911 emergency number to report that his home was missing a weapon and that he believed his son might be the sniper, he added. The police investigation revealed that the gun had been stored in a keyless drawer in James and Jennifer’s room.

The motives for the attack remain a mystery because Ethan Crumbley, who pleaded not guilty before a judge on Wednesday, chose to remain silent. He remains incarcerated in solitary confinement.

About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

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