The parents of a 15-year-old Michigan school shooting suspect were charged with involuntary manslaughter by a Michigan prosecutor on Friday.
Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald announced on Friday that 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were facing four counts each of involuntary manslaughter. It was not immediately clear if either had an attorney.
“I have tremendous compassion and empathy for parents who have children who are struggling and at risk for whatever reason, and I am by no means saying that an active shooter situation should always result in a criminal prosecution against parents,” McDonald said during a press conference.
McDonald said that the evidence that led to the decision to charge the parents included the fact that Ethan Crumbley had been present at the time that his father purchased the weapon. The Michigan prosecutor also cited a social media post from his mother that his parents had bought the weapon for the teen as a Christmas present.
The prosecutor further discussed drawings made by the 15-year-old and found by a teacher on the morning of the shooting that depicted a gun pointing at words reading “the thoughts won’t stop, help me” and someone being shot twice.
The drawings, which were subsequently altered, were shown to the parents at a meeting prior to the incident, during which they were told to get their son to counseling within the next two days.
“The facts of this case are so egregious — reading this document, looking at it, reading the words ‘Help me’ with a gun, blood everywhere. This doesn't just have impact on me as a prosecutor and a lawyer, it impacts me as a mother. The notion that a parent could read those words and also know that their son had access to a deadly weapon that they gave him is unconscionable and … I think it's criminal,” she added.
McDonald had said at a press conference on Thursday that authorities were reviewing potential charges for Crumbley’s parents and hoped to announce a decision within the next 24 hours.
“Because with the right to gun ownership also brings responsibilities and the details that surround the access to that gun by mom and dad will be released very soon,” McDonald said during an interview with “Morning in America” on Thursday.
“But yes, we’re considering very serious charges. It goes far beyond negligence of a parent, let me just put it that way.”
Ethan Crumbley himself is facing 24 charges — one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony — for allegedly fatally shooting four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school earlier this week.