Parents of suspected Oxford High School shooter returning to face arraignment, lawyer says

James, Jennifer Crumbley facing involuntary manslaughter charges

Jennifer and James Crumbley (WDIV)

OXFORD, Mich – The parents of the suspected Oxford High School shooter are returning to the area to be arraigned on the involuntary manslaughter charges that were issued against them on Friday, according to their lawyer.

James Robert Crumbley and Jennifer Lynn Crumbley are each facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter after police say their son, Ethan Crumbley, 15, killed four students Tuesday (Nov. 30) at Oxford High School.

Here is the statement from their lawyers on Friday afternoon:

“On Thursday night we contacted the Oakland County prosecutor to discuss this matter and to advise her that James and Jennifer Crumbley would be turning themselves in to be arraigned. Instead of communicating with us, the prosecutor held a press conference to announce charges. The Crumbleys left town on the night of the tragic shooting for their own safety. They are returning to the area to be arraigned. They are not fleeing from law enforcement despite recent comments in media reports.”

Around 5:30 p.m. Friday, the U.S. Marshals announced that they were joining the search for James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley. The USMS Detroit Fugitive Apprehension team is working with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office on the search.

Related stories:

The charges against the parents were issued Friday, and Judge Julie Nicholson approved a warrant to take the pair into custody. She said they could have been arraigned at 4 p.m. Friday if they were taken into custody in time, but that didn’t happen.

A “be on the lookout” alert went out to law enforcement at 3 p.m. Friday.

“The attorney, this morning, told us if charges were issued, and at that point, they had not (been), that she would make arrangements to have them arrested,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.

Police were searching for the Crumbleys after the charges were issued, and Bouchard went on CNN to discuss the search.

“Given that their attorney said that they would handle this if charges were issued, and now they’re not responding to the attorney -- it certainly is indicative of their intent to flee, which is certainly something we plan to stop very short,” Bouchard said. “If (anyone in the public knows) where they are, or they see them, please call 9-1-1.”

Around 4 p.m., the lawyer for the Crumbleys said the couple had left the area for their own safety. They both intend to return to the area and face arraignment, according to the lawyer.

Details emerge in court

During court proceedings, Oakland County Lt. Tim Willis provided details about the potential involvement of both James and Jennifer Crumbley.

He said Jennifer Crumbley received a voicemail from the school Monday after a teacher saw Ethan Crumbley looking up ammunition during class.

“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,’” Willis said.

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

“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.’”

According to Willis, the parents were told to get Ethan Crumbley into counseling within 48 hours, but they resisted the idea of their son leaving school at that time.

“Both James and Jennifer Crumbley failed to ask Ethan if he had his gun with him, or where his gun was located, and failed to inspect his backpack for the presence of the gun,” Willis 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.

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.