Parents of suspected Michigan H.S. shooter are charged with involuntary manslaughter

The parents of a teenager accused of killing four students at a Michigan high school were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter Friday, the prosecutor told The Associated Press.

Jennifer and James Crumbley were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. James Crumbley purchased the weapon for his son days before shooting, according to the sheriff. Under Michigan law, an involuntary manslaughter charge can be pursued if prosecutors believe someone contributed to a situation where harm or death was high. If convicted, they could face up to 15 years in prison.

Ethan Crumbley, 15, has been charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism, for the shooting Tuesday at Oxford High School in Oakland County, roughly 30 miles north of Detroit.

In an appearance on NBC News NOW, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said Thursday that it is “clearly a crime” if someone gives a firearm to a minor.

In a separate appearance on MSNBC, the top prosecutor in Oakland County said Thursday that the teen 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, who you have reason to believe might use it to injure somebody, that is willful and it’s gross negligence and there are lots of criminal consequences for that,” prosecutor Karen McDonald said.

The Crumbleys have not cooperated with authorities, nor have they given their son permission to talk with investigators, as is required for minors in Michigan, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.

“There’s no conversation occurring between us, the suspect or the parents,” Bouchard told NBC News Now Thursday.

A message left on a phone number listed under James Crumbley’s name was not returned. A lawyer who represented Ethan Crumbley at 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 murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Authorities have identified the four students who were killed as Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; and Justin Shilling, 17. Seven other people, including a teacher, were seriously wounded.

A motive in Tuesday’s shooting remains unclear, though authorities have said they found a video on his phone that he appeared to have made the night before the shooting in which he discussed killing students.

During an appearance on CNN, Bouchard said that prior to the shooting, Ethan Crumbley was taken to the school office after a teacher saw him display “concerning” behavior.

Bouchard has declined to elaborate on the behavior, citing the ongoing investigation and forthcoming prosecution.

In a video message published Thursday, Tim Throne, leader of Oxford Community Schools addressed the call to the office but said “no discipline was warranted.”

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