Oxford School Shooter’s Parents to Stand Trial for Involuntary Manslaughter

A judge ruled that the shooting wouldn’t have happened if James and Jennifer Crumbley hadn’t bought their son a gun or if they had taken him home from school when asked to do so by administrators.

Oxford, Michigan — James and Jennifer Crumbley — the parents of a teen boy who pleaded guilty to shooting four Oxford High School students and injuring seven others in 2021 — will be put on trial for involuntary manslaughter.

A state appeals court ruled on Thursday that the shooting wouldn’t have happened if his parents hadn’t bought him a gun or if they had taken him home from school before the shooting happened, reports NBC News.

Their son, who was 15 at the time of the school shooting, admitted in court that on Nov. 30, 2021, he retrieved a gun from an unlocked container in his home, hid it in his backpack, and pulled it out of his bag in a bathroom at Oxford High School before firing more than 30 shots at students and staff. Killed in the rampage were 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin, 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, and 17-year-old Justin Shilling.

A day before the shooting, a teacher saw the teen searching for ammunition on his phone. Prosecutors say the school then contacted his mother, who later said to her son in a text message: “Lol. I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”

On the morning of Nov. 30, a teacher discovered a drawing with a gun and the words, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.” There was also an image of a bullet with the words, “Blood everywhere.”

The boy’s parents were called into the school to discuss the disturbing drawing but declined to take him home. They were told to get him into counseling within 48 hours. Their son opened fire soon after they left the school.

Attorneys for the couple say the parents couldn’t have foreseen what happened. NBC News reports that they admitted they made bad mistakes but that they shouldn’t be put on trial for involuntary manslaughter. The judge in the case said parents shouldn’t face trial for “subpar, odd or eccentric” ways they raise their children, but the evidence against the Crumbleys is much more serious.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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