Could parents of Oxford High School shooting suspect face federal charges for purchase of gun used in shooting?

Artist linked to building parents were arrested in questioned by police

It is a federal crime to purchase a handgun in your name and then give that handgun to someone else. It’s called a straw purchase.

OXFORD, Mich. – The investigation into the Oxford High School shooting that left four students dead and seven other people injured is ongoing.

The 15-year-old suspect’s parents, James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley are in custody following their arrest in Detroit early Saturday morning.

Their son, Ethan Crumbley, is in custody as well. They are not allowed to have any contact with each other.

Ethan Crumbley has been appointed an attorney by the court and his parents have hired their own lawyers.

There is a possibility Ethan Crumbley’s parents could face new charges after investigators said James Crumbley purchased the gun that was used in the shooting for his son.

Read: Suspected Oxford High shooter, parents all lodged at same jail but separate, officials say

It is a federal crime to purchase a handgun in your name and then give that handgun to someone else. It’s called a straw purchase.

Federal prosecutors are investigating to determine if federal laws were violated when the handgun used in the Oxford High School shooting was purchased.

Investigators confirmed that James Crumbley purchased the handgun in his name.

“It was clear from social media it was bought for him,” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said.

Jennifer Crumbley confirmed the potentially illegal transfer of that firearm to 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley in an Instagram post that stated the gun was a gift for her son.

“In this case, the father claims he bought the handgun but public comments that he got it for his son. The son is not 21. It’s a handgun. Even a rifle, the person you are giving it to has to be at least 18,” Steve Dolunt said.

Read: More Local 4 Defenders coverage

Parents in custody, Michigan Ag investigation possible federal charges

The investigation into every aspect of the Oxford High School shooting continues on a federal and state level.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel confirmed that her office will look into if school violated laws by failing to report a possible threat when they met with Ethan Crumbley and his parents just hours before the shooting.

Local 4 also learned that leaders of the U.S. Marshals agency in Washington are angry that Ethan Crumbley’s parents were apparently not being watched by law enforcement. When they were charged with involuntary manslaughter police were unable to locate them.

Attorneys for the parents insisted that the couple was not fleeing. Detroit police got a tip that they were inside a building in Detroit. After a manhunt the couple was arrested inside a building on the city’s east side.

Sources point to a connection between the couple and an artist who uses the building. The artist, Andrzej Sikora, said he did not know that the couple was wanted by police.

Read: Artist with ties to building parents of Oxford shooting suspect were arrested in will be questioned by detectives

“One if the interesting questions is gonna be when, what evidence did they have that mr. sikora knew that these two were wanted by police that they had a warrant for their arrest,” legal analyst Neil Rockind said.

Sheriff’s detectives with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant on Monday at Sikora’s Troy home and seized several digital devices. Any evidence will be shared with the prosecutor’s office.

The issue for investigators is what Sikora knew and when he knew it, officials said.

Read: Complete Oxford High School shooting coverage


About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.