Father called 911 to report missing gun, say his son might be Oxford High School shooter, police say

Officials said gun was kept in unlocked drawer in parents’ bedroom

James Robert Crumbley (WDIV)

OXFORD, Mich. – The father of the suspected Oxford High School shooter called 911 minutes after the shooting became public to report a missing gun and said he believed his son might be the shooter, according to police.

During a court appearance in which a warrant was approved for the parents of Ethan Crumbley, Oakland County Lt. Tim Willis offered more details about Tuesday’s shooting.

He said the 15-year-old went with his father, James Crumbley, to purchase the 9 mm Sig Sauer handgun from a shop on Nov. 26 -- four days before the shooting.

Three days later, on Nov. 29, a teacher saw Ethan Crumbley looking up ammunition in class, according to authorities.

School officials left a voicemail for his mother, Jennifer Crumbley, about the incident, and followed up with an email, according to Willis.

“Thereafter, Jennifer Crumbley exchanged text messages about the incident with her son, where she stated, ‘LOL I’m not mad. You have to learn not to get caught.’”

Both parents were called to the school at 10 a.m. Tuesday, just hours before the shooting, when a teacher found a disturbing note and drawing on their son’s desk, Willis said.

“The morning of the shooting, Ethan Crumbley’s teacher came upon a note on Ethan’s desk, which alarmed her to the point that she took a picture of it on her phone,” Willis said. “The note contained the following: a drawing of a semi-automatic handgun pointed at the words, ‘The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.’ In another section of the note was a drawing of a bullet with the following words above that bullet: ‘Blood everywhere.’ Between the drawing of the gun and the bullet is the drawing of a person who appears to have been shot twice and bleeding. Below that figure is the drawing of a laughing emoji. Further down the drawing are the words, ‘My life is useless,’ and to the right of those words are, ‘The world is dead.’”

By the time he was brought to the meeting, Ethan Crumbley had altered the note, but James and Jennifer Crumbley were told that both were required to get their son into counseling within 48 hours, according to Willis.

Officials said the parents “resisted the idea of Ethan leaving the school at that time.” They left the building without their son, authorities said.

Willis said that when news of the active shooter at Oxford High School became public, Jennifer Crumbley texted her son at 1:22 p.m., “Ethan, don’t do it.”

At 1:37 p.m., James Crumbley called 9-1-1 to report that a gun was missing from his house and he believed his son might be the shooter, according to authorities.

“Further investigation revealed that the Sig Sauer 9 mm handgun purchased by James Crumbley was stored, unlocked in a drawer in James and Jennifer’s bedroom,” Willis said. “The gun recovered from Ethan Crumbley after the shooting was the same gun that was purchased by James Crumbley on 11/26/21 in the presence of Ethan.”

The shooting left four students dead and seven people injured, officials said. Ethan Crumbley is facing 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. He is being charged as an adult.

He is being held without bond at the Oakland County Jail. On Friday, police were given a warrant to take his parents into custody on the involuntary manslaughter charges.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.