Oxford High shooter Ethan Crumbley, 15, charged as an adult

Dec 1, 2021 at 3:18 pm
click to enlarge The main entrance view of Oxford High School in 2007. - Adrienne of Oxford, Wikimedia Creative Commons
Adrienne of Oxford, Wikimedia Creative Commons
The main entrance view of Oxford High School in 2007.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced charges against 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, who is accused of opening fire at Oxford High School on Tuesday, killing four students and injuring seven others.

The teenager, who was officially identified by officials for the first time on Wednesday, will be charged as an adult due to the seriousness of the crimes, McDonald said.

He faces one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. If convicted, the child faces up to life in prison.

McDonald said that there may be additional charges filed as investigators continue to craft a timeline of events. McDonald also says her department is also considering charging his parents, as it was reported that his father had purchased the firearm used in the attack just days ago, on Black Friday.

"When the shooting started yesterday, the students and teachers and staff in the school had to act quickly to save their own lives," McDonald said. "Law enforcement and all of the first responders had to act quickly to prevent more lives from being lost and to get help for those who have been shot. Last night and this morning, we had to act quickly to review the evidence that has already been gathered and issue these initial charges. Going forward from today, the process becomes more methodical," she said, adding that there are still facts and evidence to be collected and ensured that investigators will make sure that investigators "have left no stone unturned."

"Today is only [the] beginning," she said.

Following the rampage, which is the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. since 2018, authorities have been reviewing hours of footage from the school's cameras, which revealed that the suspect began firing at students in the hallway after exiting a bathroom. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said the footage does not suggest these were targeted attacks and "appeared random." Investigators are also poring through the suspect's social media, phone logs, and computer after a search warrant was issued at his family's home on Tuesday.

Though McDonald did not disclose details regarding the ongoing investigation and any evidence they may have found that led to these charges, she said that she is "absolutely sure" that this attack was planned ahead of the incident and not an impulsive act, due to "a mountain of digital evidence."

"It was absolutely premeditated," she said.

Some parents and students reportedly said that they heard rumors that there would be a shooting at Oxford High School, and some students even skipped class.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said that school officials even met with Ethan Crumbley and his parents at the school to discuss his "concerning behavior" the day of the shooting, shortly before the incident, according to Fox 2 Detroit.

Why the school didn't do more remains unclear.

"My focus is not on what the school did wrong or right," McDonald said.

Wednesday's press conference came just hours after a fourth victim was named.

Justin Shilling, 15, succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained during the shooting around 10 a.m. Wednesday at Pontiac's McLaren Oakland Hospital.

Others killed have been identified as Tate Myre, age 16; Hana St. Julian, 14; and Madisyn Baldwin, 17.

McDonald said that charging Ethan Crumbley as an adult "is necessary to achieve justice and protect the public. Any other option would put all of us at risk of this person, because they could be released and still be a threat," she said. "My job is to protect our community for people who commit these kinds of crimes. And that's what I'm going to do."

McDonald also called for tougher gun laws.

"To prevent further tragedies like the one we witnessed yesterday, and at large, we have got to address responsible gun ownership in this country and in Oakland County," she said. "Responsible gun ownership, including the security of a gun, is an absolute imperative to protect our community today and in the future, and those who do not do that should be and will be held accountable. Kids deserve better. Parents deserve better. Teachers deserve better. We have to do better."

She added, "If the incident yesterday, with four children being murdered and multiple kids being injured, is not enough to revisit our gun laws, I don't know what is."

Ethan Crumbley was set to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.

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