By Jordan Chan
A mass school shooting occurred Nov. 30 at Oxford High School in Michigan with a 15 year-old high school sophomore shooting 11 people, killing four students and causing critical injuries to others. Video evidence shows him attempting to lure students out of a classroom and students fleeing out a window. Surrounding schools, students, and citizens across the country have paid respects to the students killed: 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana; 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin; 16-year-old Tate Myre, who died on the way to the hospital in a patrol car; and 17-year-old Justin Shilling, who died the morning after in the hospital. According to The Associated Press, this was the deadliest school shooting since Santa Fe in 2018.
The victims were athletes, artists, and exemplary community members. Myre was a star on the high school football team and an excellent student. Baldwin was an artist with full scholarships to multiple colleges. Juliana was a kind-hearted and dedicated basketball and volleyball player. Shilling was a co-captain of the high school bowling team who helped keep a local restaurant afloat.
The alleged perpetrator, Ethan Crumbley, faces charges of one count of terrorism causing death, seven counts of assault with the intent to murder, 12 counts of possession of a firearm, and four counts of first-degree murder. He could face a life sentence in prison if convicted. Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald charged the 15-year-old as an adult, pursuant to the Michigan law stating that some severe crimes, like first-degree murder, require that the court treats teens as adults. Crumbley pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
County Sheriff Michael Bouchard stated that on the morning of the crime, Crumbley’s parents came to the school to discuss “behavior in the classroom that was concerning.” A teacher had caught Crumbley looking at ammunition on his phone, and Crumbley drew a disturbing sketch of a seemingly bloody corpse and a firearm. Crumbley’s mother allegedly texted him, “LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,” in response to messages about the ammunition.
Through further investigation, the police found a video the suspect recorded that talked about killing his peers. Due to this “mountain of digital evidence,” McDonald determined that the crime was “absolutely premeditated… it isn’t even a close call.”
The prosecution has also charged both of Crumbley’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. They have both pleaded not guilty. E. Crumbley attacked the school with a nine-millimeter Sig Sauer semiautomatic handgun that his father bought on Nov. 16, his mother calling it her son’s “Christmas present.” Charges against teen shooters’ parents are rare in such cases, although popular with gun control advocates who posit that fewer school shootings would occur if students could not access their parents’ firearms. McDonald stated that firearm owners who do not secure their weapons, especially in cases with young people like Crumbley, “should and will be held accountable.”
James and Jennifer Crumbley did not show up for their court arraignment on Friday, Dec. 3. Despite their lawyer’s claim that they left town “for their own safety,” the U.S. Marshals Service released “wanted posters” and offered a reward of 10,000 dollars for information that would lead to their arrest. The police arrested both parents in Detroit the following morning. The judge involved in this case set their bonds at 500,000 dollars each. Their lawyer later stated that their absence had to do with miscommunication.
(Sources: AP, NYT, Washington Post, USA Today, Reuters, The Hill, CNN, NPR, BBC)