Ethan Crumbley, 16, Pleads Guilty to 24 Charges in the Oxford School Shooting
In October, a teenage gunman opened fire at Oxford High School, killing four students and injuring six more. This tragic event has sparked calls for stronger gun control laws and mental health reforms across Michigan – it being the deadliest school shooting since Columbine High School’s 1999 massacre.
He pleaded guilty to 24 charges, including terrorism causing death and first-degree murder. As a result, he will serve a life term in prison with no chance of parole.
Crumbley’s lawyer Paulette Loftin confirmed that the teenager is “sincerely regretful” for what he did. She further stressed that 16-year-old did not target any specific students or people during his shooting spree.
At his Monday court hearing, prosecutors painted Ethan Crumbley as a troubled teenager prone to hallucinations whose parents were aware of his violent tendencies. However, they denied that his parents knew about his plans to commit a school shooting.
Prosecutors report that the teen had drawn a picture of a violent person and informed two school officials it was for a video game. Both counselors and the dean of students instructed him to remain at school and receive counseling, according to prosecutors.
Court documents indicate school administrators were unable to locate the gun used in the shooting. Investigators believe he took it into a bathroom before opening fire.
When questioned, Crumbley admitted to taking the gun from an unlocked container at his house and concealing it in his backpack before heading off to school. Additionally, he acknowledged giving his father money in order to purchase the firearm.
At the time of the shooting, James and Jennifer Crumbley, his parents, were still caring for him. James and Jennifer Crumbley face manslaughter charges for purchasing their son a handgun. Both have pleaded not guilty to all allegations and will go on trial later this year.
Prosecutors allege that his parents failed to provide their son with the mental assistance he needed before he killed his classmates, creating an environment in their home which encouraged his violent tendencies.
Prosecutors allege the school district failed to have an adequate threat assessment team to monitor Crumbley’s behavior prior to the shooting, in violation of state law. They also claim school officials failed to follow protocol when they asked his parents to pick him up from school on that day.
According to prosecutors, parents were asked to remove their son from school but refused. He was struggling and didn’t want to be taken away. Prosecutors stated that prosecutors ordered them to get him counseling within 48 hours after being informed of the request.
On the eve of the shooting, Crumbley was seen as a troubled teen who was experiencing hallucinations and was obsessed with guns and Nazi propaganda. Additionally, he had difficulty focusing in class and had been referred to the school’s crisis line for mental health concerns.