Parents sue Oxford High School officials, Crumbleys over deadly shooting

click to enlarge Tate Myer, 16, was killed in the Oxford High School shooting on Nov. 30. - HANDOUT
Tate Myer, 16, was killed in the Oxford High School shooting on Nov. 30.

The parents of four Oxford High School students filed a lawsuit Thursday against school officials and a shooting suspect’s parents following the massacre that killed four students and wounded six other students and a teacher on Nov. 30.

The lawsuit, filed in Oakland County Circuit Court, alleges intentional, reckless, and negligent conduct by 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley’s parents, the school’s dean of students, two counselors, and three teachers. Crumbley is also named as a defendant.

The plaintiffs are the parents of 16-year-old Tate Myer, who was killed in the shooting, and three other students who witnessed the attack.

Buck and Sheri Myre said they’re “sad and heartbroken” and "will never be the same."

“We’re not doing good,” Buck Myer said in a news conference Thursday. “All we do is walk around the house and think about Tate. We think about him every day. We sit in his room. We listen to his playlist on Spotify. We miss him.”

Attorney Ven Johnson, who filed the lawsuit, said school officials were grossly negligent and had multiple opportunities to prevent the shooting.

“This tragedy could have and should have been prevented and we plan to fight like hell for our clients and the entire Oxford community,” Ven Johnson said. “The inaction by those who are trained to help and protect students is inexcusable, let alone the abuse, neglect, and behavior of the Crumbleys. We will hold those responsible for this tragedy accountable and get justice for the students, families and community.”

Ethan Crumbley, who plans to plead insanity, was charged as an adult with murder and other crimes. His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were charged with involuntary manslaughter.

In the days before the shooting, school officials and Ethan Crumbley’s parents failed to act despite a pattern of troubling behavior by the teenager. He told his mother he was seeing demons. A day before the shooting, he was caught at school searching for ammunition online. And on the day of the shooting, a teacher spotted his drawing that depicted a person who had been shot and the words, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.”

Johnson said Ethan Crumbley was crying out for help and demonstrating dangerous behavior that should have prompted school officials to call the police.

“All they had to do is call 911. They never did,” Johnson said.

Instead, on the day of the shooting, school officials allowed Ethan Crumbley to return to class without searching his backpack, which contained the gun he used in the shooting.

“They not only didn’t stop Ethan, who apparently was psychologically trying to be stopped, but they gave him back the very backpack where he had the gun.”

The Myers said they are starting a nonprofit called 42 Strong — a reference to the number on their son’s football jersey — that will focus on peer-to-peer mentoring for children.

“We want his legacy to live forever,” Buck Myer said, adding that Ethan Crumbley “unfortunately had nowhere to go and that’s why Nov. 30 happened.”

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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