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Andrew McCabe called the charges against the parents of Michigan school shooter ‘unprecedented’

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said the charges against the parents of Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley were ‘unprecedented’ but ‘absolutely called for.’

On Friday McCabe told CNN‘s Ana Cabrera that he was stunned by Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald’s involuntary manslaughter charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of accused Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley, who are currently on the run from police. 

On Friday, McDonald revealed stunning details about the murder weapon: it was a Christmas gift for the 15-year-old, whom police say shot dead four students after penning a disturbing note saying ‘thoughts won’t stop, help me.’ 

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Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (far right)  stood behind prosecutors decision to move forward with charges against the Crumbleys

Michigan authorities, the FBI and US Marshals Service are all looking for James Crumbley (left) and Jennifer Crumbley (right), who have a fugitive warrant out for their arrest

Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald announced manslaughter charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley on Friday afternoon

Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald announced manslaughter charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley on Friday afternoon

‘I was stunned when I heard that they were leaning in that direction because it’s so exceedingly rare,’ McCabe said. ‘In the few states that have laws that address this sort of thing really no one ever gets prosecuted.’

But McCabe said after listening to the ‘mountain of evidence’ laid out by McDonald, he believes prosecutors will have a strong case and that what they presented was only just a sample of what they have so far.

McCabe stood behind prosecutors decision to move forward with charges against the Crumbleys and that he thinks this case will shine a light on school shootings. 

‘It’s incredible and it’s absolutely called for,’ McCabe said. ‘and I think it maybe is just the sort of thing we need to attract attention to this epidemic of school violence.’  

McCabe said the case will be difficult to prosecute but that the case is strong.  

‘This is an unprecedented prosecution, and proving criminally negligent or reckless homicide is tough under any circumstances,’ McCabe said, but that he couldn’t imagine ‘a better perfect storm collection of fact and evidence to potentially hold these parents responsible.’

Hours after the charges were announced James and Jennifer Crumbley went on the run from police.

Police have issued a ‘be on the lookout alert’ and dispatched fugitive teams to search for the pair, who have until 4pm to turn themselves in. 

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said he learned of the charges being filed against the Crumbleys from media reports and had no advance warning from the prosecutors, which could have allowed his agency to secure the suspects and prevent them from fleeing. 

McDonald alleged that the parents ignored multiple warning signs and refused to take their son out of school just hours before the shooting took place.

Ethan, 15,  pictured wearing a heavy suicide-prevention vest at his arraignment hearing in Pontiac on Wednesday

Ethan, 15,  pictured wearing a heavy suicide-prevention vest at his arraignment hearing in Pontiac on Wednesday

Crumbley's father James, who owns the gun he used in the attack, and his mother Jennifer are pictured on Zoom attending the arraignment

Crumbley’s father James, who owns the gun he used in the attack, and his mother Jennifer are pictured on Zoom attending the arraignment

Jennifer bragged on social media about going out with Ethan to test his Christmas present – a 9mm handgun – just three days before the shooting at Oxford High School, and just one day after her husband James had purchased the gun for Ethan.

During a press conference Friday, McDonald revealed stunning new details leading up to the shooting that took place Tuesday afternoon, including that Jennifer texted her son about 30 minutes after the rampage saying, ‘Ethan, don’t do it,’ and that her husband James called 911 to report that his gun – a 9 mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 – was missing and that Ethan was likely the shooter.

The prosecutor revealed that James, who – like his wife – has a prior criminal history, bought the murder weapon from a retailer with his son there on November 26. He stored the 9mm handgun in an unlocked drawer in his bedroom, McDonald said.

Less than a week before the gun was purchased, on November 21, McDonald said a teacher at Oxford High School observed Ethan searching ammunition on his cell during class and reported it to school officials.

Jennifer was contacted via voicemail by the school about her son’s inappropriate internet search, and officials followed up with an email but received no response, the prosecutor said.

Pictured: Jennifer Crumbley and James Crumbley, the parents of school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, were charged on Friday with involuntary manslaughter

Pictured: Jennifer Crumbley and James Crumbley, the parents of school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, were charged on Friday with involuntary manslaughter

On an Instagram account which has since been deleted, Ethan Crumbley bragged about getting his 'new beauty' - a 9mm Siga Sauer - on November 26

On an Instagram account which has since been deleted, Ethan Crumbley bragged about getting his ‘new beauty’ – a 9mm Siga Sauer – on November 26

The mother later exchanged texts with her son on that day stating: ‘lol, I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught,’ McDonald said Friday.

She also revealed that on the morning of the shooting, a teacher found a chilling note on Ethan’s desk, which featured disturbing drawings depicting a semi-automatic gun, a bullet, a shooting victim and a laughing emoji.

According to the prosecutor, the note included the words ‘blood everywhere,’ ‘thoughts won’t stop, help me,’ ‘my life is useless’ and ‘the world is dead.’

Jennifer and James were immediately summoned to the school to discuss their son’s worrying behavior. A school counselor was able to obtain the note with the drawing, but McDonald said by then the note had been ‘altered.’

The doodles of the gun and the bullet-ridden figure were ‘scratched out,’ as well as Ethan’s writings.

During the meeting, the Crumbleys were shown the note and were advised that they were required to get Ethan into counselling within 48 hours.

According to the prosecutor, the mother and father failed to ask Ethan if he had his gun with him, or where his gun was, and did not inspect his backpack.

McDonald said the parents ‘resisted’ the idea of pulling their son out of the school at that time and left without him. 

Officials previously said that at 12.51pm, Ethan walked into a bathroom at Oakland High School with a backpack, then emerged less than a minute later carrying the Sig Sauer handgun and opened fire.

At 1.22pm – more than 30 minutes after the shooting was first reported – Jennifer texted her son, saying: ‘Ethan, don’t do it,’ the prosecutor said.

At 1.37pm, James called 911, reporting his newly purchased gun missing. He also told an emergency dispatcher that he believed his son might be the shooter at Oxford High School.

Ethan, 15, is seen in his booking photo released by Oakland County sheriff's office

Ethan, 15, is seen in his booking photo released by Oakland County sheriff’s office 

A flag flies at half mast in Centennial Park in honor of the students and staff killed and wounded in the November 30 shooting at Oxford High School

A flag flies at half mast in Centennial Park in honor of the students and staff killed and wounded in the November 30 shooting at Oxford High School

James and Jennifer were scheduled to be arraigned at 4pm, but authorities reported the pair were not in custody as of late Friday afternoon.  

Charging documents allege that the parents caused the death of each of the four deceased victims by ‘storing his or her firearm and its ammunition so as to allow access to the firearm and ammunition by his or her minor child or the grossly negligent failure… to exercise reasonable care to control his or her minor child so as to prevent him from intentionally harming others or from so conducting himself so as to create an unreasonable risk of bodily harm to others knowing that he or she has the ability to control his or her child and knowing of the necessity and opportunity to do so.’

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement on Friday that she agrees with McDonald’s decision to criminally charge the Crumbleys.

‘I fully support Prosecutor McDonald’s issuance of charges against Jennifer and James Crumbley,’ she wrote. ‘Demanding accountability of a child’s parents under the circumstances presented is not just appropriate, it’s crucial. Justice demands no less.

‘My heart continues to go out to the families who lost their child in this unfathomable tragedy. We must not let this pass without properly addressing gun violence and responsible gun ownership.’

Under Michigan law, an involuntary manslaughter charge can be pursued if prosecutors believe someone contributed to a situation where the probability of harm or death was high.

‘The parents were the only individuals in the position to know the access to weapons,’ McDonald said Thursday. The gun, which Ethan’s father, James Crumbley, had just purchased four days before the rampage, ‘seems to have been just freely available to that individual.’

‘These charges are intended to hold the individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable and also send the message that gun owners have a responsibility.

‘When they fail to uphold that responsibility, there are serious and criminal consequences.’

Bill Kucyk, the owner of a local gun range, told Fox 2 that the murder weapon – a 9 mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 – has been out of production for years and was likely purchased through a private seller.

Ethan has been charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism, for the shooting on Tuesday.

The school shooting – the deadliest in the US since 2018 – claimed the lives of Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17. Seven more people were injured. Three were in hospitals in stable condition.

At an arraignment in Pontiac, Michigan, on Wednesday Ethan sat mum, masked and suited in a heavy suicide-prevention vest, while attorneys and his parents joined in by video conference.

The teen was charged as an adult because the crimes are ‘serious’ and the attack was premeditated.




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