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Oxford shooting suspect's parents missing, police say |

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Oxford shooting suspect's parents missing, police say

PONTIAC, Mich. (NewsNation Now) — Michigan police issued an alert asking for help locating the parents of the suspected Oxford High School shooter. It comes on the same day Jennifer and James Crumbley were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the attack.

Their son, Ethan Crumbley, is accused of killing four classmates and injuring seven other people during a shooting Tuesday.

The parents' attorney promised Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard they would surrender to authorities if they were charged, according to a news release. But Bouchard said the lawyer told him Friday she was not able to reach them.

The parents' attorneys, Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman, contend that the Crumbleys intend to turn themselves in and released the following statement on Friday.

"On Thursday night we contacted the Oakland County prosecutor to discuss this matter and to adviser her that James and Jennifer Crumbley would be turning themselves in to be arraigned. Instead of communication 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."

Bouchard, however, holds that the parents are missing.

“We have our Fugitive Apprehension Team, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service and others actively looking for them and have every expectation we’ll have them in custody soon,” Bouchard said in a news release. “The action of fleeing and ignoring their attorney certainly adds weight to the charges. They cannot run from their part in this tragedy.”

The parents' role in the shooting became a focal point in the investigation. On Wednesday, Bouchard told reporters he learned the parents were in meetings with school administrators about their son's behavior the day before and the day of the shooting.


School chief: Discipline not needed for boy before shooting

On Friday, Michigan prosecutor Karen McDonald said the parents were summoned a few hours before the shooting after a teacher found a drawing of a gun, a person bleeding and the words "help me." Ethan Crumbley was returned to his classroom and later emerged from a bathroom, firing a gun at students in the hallway.

McDonald said the semi-automatic gun used in the shootings was purchased by James Crumbley last week and given to the teen.

McDonald said Jennifer Crumbley sent her son a text, saying “Ethan, don't do it.”

Jennifer and James Crumbley were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Under Michigan law, an involuntary manslaughter charge can be pursued if prosecutors believe someone contributed to a situation where harm or death was high. If convicted, they could face up to 15 years in prison.

Ethan Crumbley was charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism, for the shooting Tuesday at Oxford High School in Oakland County, roughly 30 miles north of Detroit.

Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; and Justin Shilling, 17 died during the rampage.

The superintendent for the district late Thursday posted a YouTube video where he said the teenager was called to the office before the shooting but, “No discipline was warranted.”

Tim Throne, leader of Oxford Community Schools, said the high school looks like a “war zone” and won’t be ready for weeks. But he repeatedly credited students and staff for how they responded to the violence.


Who are the victims of Oxford High School shooting?

“To say that I am still in shock and numb is probably an understatement. These events that have occurred will not define us,” Throne, grim-faced and speaking slowly, said in the 12-minute video.

“I want you to know that there’s been a lot of talk about the student who was apprehended, that he was called up to the office and all that kind of stuff. No discipline was warranted,” Throne said. “There are no discipline records at the high school. Yes, this student did have contact with our front office, and, yes, his parents were on campus Nov. 30.”

Throne said he couldn’t immediately release additional details.

This is a developing story; check back for updates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.