The Oakland (Michigan) Prosecutor’s Office indicted this Friday the parents of the 15-year-old boy who on Tuesday opened fire on his high school classmates and killed four teenagers. James and Jennifer Crumbley face four counts of involuntary manslaughter, Karen McDonald has confirmed to the press. “Having a gun means keeping it in a safe place and not allowing others, especially minors, to have access to it. It was he who pulled the trigger, but there were more people involved in that tragic event, and it is my obligation to hold them responsible, “said the prosecutor, referring to the parents. The decision, which has few precedents and introduces the concept of responsibility into America’s sacrosanct right to own guns, marks a milestone in the history of shootings involving teenagers.
McDonald has offered a detailed account of the events that led Ethan Crumbley to sneak into a backpack at his Oxford institute, 60 kilometers from Detroit, the semi-automatic nine-millimeter weapon Sig Sauer with which he carried out the massacre. It all started on November 26, the day after Thanksgiving, when father and son went shopping for the gun together. James Crumbley later posted on his social networks a photo with the following text: “I just got this beauty.” The comment was accompanied by some heart emojis. The mother also shared that image, which she defined as “a Christmas gift” for the son.
The day before the attack, a professor surprised Crumbley by searching his cell phone for information on how to get ammunition. The institute contacted the parents to show their concern about the attitude of Ethan, who now faces the maximum penalty, life imprisonment, because the prosecution accuses him of terrorism, which equates his responsibility in the facts to that of an adult. They received a phone call, which left a trace on the answering machine, and an email. They did not reply to either message, but investigators have found evidence that the mother wrote the following message to her son: “LOL [carcajadas]. I’m not mad at you, but don’t get caught next time. “
The parents attended the institute twice. The second, on the day of the car, when a teacher surprised the attacker by drawing a weapon in a notebook, with a text that read: “The thoughts do not stop. Help me My life is useless, the world is dead. ”. The McDonald prosecutor considers that the parents acted negligently by not forcing the boy to show them what his backpack contained. Also, for refusing to take him home and allowing him to return to class.
Hours later, he went into the bathroom, pulled out his gun, and began shooting indiscriminately at whoever he encountered. He killed 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin, and 17-year-old Justin Shilling, who succumbed to fatal injuries on Wednesday. It also left seven wounded, six students and a teacher. “He was shooting at close range and usually to the head or chest,” County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told CNN.
Join EL PAÍS now to follow all the news and read without limits
When the first news broke that there was an active shooter at his son’s high school, the father wrote him a message: “Ethan, don’t do it.” James Crumbley then ran to his house, where he verified that the weapon was not in its place, a place that did not have a lock, according to investigators. He later called the police to warn that he suspected that the pistol he had bought for four days was the one used in the attack. When the police showed up at the institute and cut down the shooter, the boy still had 15 rounds left.
In the first six months of the year, more than 270 mass shootings were registered in the United States, according to data from the independent agency Gun Violence Archive. Since 2020 the country has experienced an increase in armed violence. In recent years, mass shootings in educational centers in the country have multiplied exponentially. This is the most serious that has occurred in the last 18 months, in which the pandemic reduced the presence of students in schools and institutes.
Follow all the international information at Facebook and Twitter, o en our weekly newsletter.