Sheriff believes Oxford High School should have told police about suspect’s behavior before shooting

Oxford Community Schools superintendent says no discipline was warranted

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard at a Dec. 2, 2021, briefing. (WDIV)

OXFORD, Mich. – Oakland County’s sheriff believes there was enough reason for Oxford High School officials to contact police about the suspected shooter’s concerning behavior before the deadly attack.

Lt. Tim Willis, of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, revealed new details Friday about what happened in the days leading up to Tuesday’s shooting, which left four students dead and seven people injured.

Willis said the day before the shooting, Ethan Crumbley, 15, was caught by a teacher looking up ammunition on his cellphone during class.

The following morning, just hours before the shooting, a teacher found a note and drawing on Crumbley’s desk that alarmed her so much, she took a picture of it on her phone and notified school officials, 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.’”

On Friday, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told CNN that he believes those two instances should have been enough warning for the school to notify police.

“We have a process that we would have triggered into action at that moment,” Bouchard said.

Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne posted a video Thursday afternoon to address the community for the first time since the shooting. During that video, he said discipline for Crumbley was not warranted before the shooting.

“There’s been a lot of talk about the student that was apprehended -- that he was called up to the office and all that kind of stuff,” Throne said. “No discipline was warranted.”

Throne’s comments came after Bouchard revealed to the public that police were unaware of the Monday and Tuesday morning incidents until after the shooting. He even said the 15-year-old’s parents were brought to the school about three hours before the shooting to discuss his behavior.

In the video, Throne stood by the school’s decision not to contact police.

“There are no discipline records at the high school,” Throne said. “Yes, this student did have contact with our front office, and yes, his parents were on campus Nov. 30. Again, I will take any and all questions at a later time, but that’s not now and this is as much information as we can give you today.”

Bouchard was asked Friday about Throne’s comments.

“Certainly, after the second encounter in the morning, I believe it was more than appropriate and necessary (to contact law enforcement), based on the content of what was seen on the second day,” Bouchard said. “Clearly, I believe that that would have been appropriate, and I also know that our school resource officer would have asked him to be removed from school while that counseling or whatever was ordered by the school takes place.”

Bouchard said the resource officer would have escorted Crumbley from the school and made sure he didn’t have any weapons on him.


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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.