Attorney: Backpack with gun inside was returned to suspected Oxford killer on day of school shooting

‘These children should be with us here today,’ mother of victim says

OXFORD, Mich. – An attorney for victims of the Oxford High School shooting held a press conference on Thursday to detail new findings in the case.

Attorney Ven Johnson deposed several employees of the school who had direct contact with accused shooter Ethan Crumbly prior to the Nov. 30, 2021, shooting.

Crumbley is accused of killing four students and injuring seven other people, including a teacher. He is facing murder and terrorism charges as an adult.

Crumbley’s parents, Jennifer and James, are facing manslaughter charges. Several lawsuits have been filed against the school district alleging negligence.

“To me, this is beyond neglect it’s unforgivable. We have four angels that are gone, you know. I can’t find an excuse for dropping the ball. Again and again and again we’re learning all of these months later that this could have and should have been avoided. These children should be with us here today,” Justin Shilling’s mother Jill Soave said.

At the press conference, Johnson broke down a timeline of events that led to the shooting, including sharing new emails between school employees.

“We do this today primarily for one reason and one reason alone and that is because Oxford Community Schools, as you all know, has done nothing but cover up and conceal this information,” Johnson said.

Read: Parents have questions after 2 Oxford school board members resign in less than a week

Did Ethan Crumbley ‘show signs of problems’ before the shooting?

Johnson said it is clear that the accused shooter showed “signs of problems” before the shooting.

According to Johnson, Crumbley drew what appears to be a picture of himself and a firearm and gave it to his teacher in late August of that year. The teacher said she never saw the drawing until the day before the shooting.

“So even though he drew it, and he gave it to her, she claimed she didn’t look at it. So I would just ask us to think about that,” Johnson said.

Ethan Crumbley's drawing. (WDIV)

Teacher emails counselor in September

On Sept. 8, 2022, Crumbley was the subject of an email from a teacher to the counselor.

She asked the counselor to touch base with Crumbley because in his autobiography poem he said that he feels terrible and that his family is a mistake. She called his response to the assignment, “unusual.”

The counselor said he received the email but was busy that day. He testified that he did not speak to Crumbley, but did speak with the teacher.

The counselor testified that the teacher was no longer concerned because it was a homework assignment and not necessarily something concerning his life. He testified that the teacher changed her mind.

That is in contrast to what the teacher told investigators after the shooting. She told investigators that the counselor told her that he had spoken to Crumbley.

Classmate says Crumbley warned him not to come to school

According to Johnson, a classmate said that Crumbley told him “if I ever tell you not to come to school sometime, don’t.” That incident happened on Nov. 25, 2021, the Thursday before the deadly shooting.

At some point between that warning and the shooting, Crumbley allegedly showed the classmate pictures of his gun and a target that he had been shooting at. Johnson believes the images come from the Sunday before the shooting, when Crumbley went shooting with his mother.

Just one day before the deadly school shooting, Crumbley showed the classmate a single bullet that he had in his pocket. The classmate didn’t report the incident because he didn’t know what to do.

Read: Mom, son texted about gun day before school shooting

Counselor brings Crumbley his backpack from classroom

On the day of the shooting, Crumbley was pulled from the classroom and to the office. He has a 45-minute conversation with school officials that officials believe feels like a normal conversation.

His parents are called and Crumbley begins worrying about missing chemistry class. He said he wants his homework and wants his backpack.

The counselor went down to the classroom and grabbed the backpack. According to the testimony, the teacher picked it up and it looked empty but when she handed it to the counselor he commented on how heavy it was. Inside the backpack was a gun, magazines and Crumbley’s manifesto.

They gave the backpack to Crumbley, according to Johnson.

“Neither one of them, according to their testimony, even thought for a second to search the backpack. Neither one of them thought for a second to ask Ethan, ‘Hey, dude, show us what’s in there. We just want to make sure everything’s cool.’ Didn’t even ask him,” Johnson said.

Read: Parents of Oxford High School shooting survivor file lawsuit pushing for accountability, change

Watch the full press conference below:

An attorney for victims of the Oxford High School shooting held a press conference on Thursday to detail new findings in the case.

About the Author:

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