In a letter released Saturday, Oxford Community Schools superintendent Tim Thorne wrote that the accused shooter, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, told school authorities that violent drawings he was found with were for a “video game” he was designing.
Hours before Tuesday’s shooting, a teacher had observed the illustrations, which included a depiction of a bullet, a person who was shot twice and bleeding and a laughing emoji, according to the Detroit News. The drawing also contained the words “the thoughts won’t stop, help me,” “blood everywhere,” “my life is useless,” and “the world is dead.”
“The student was immediately removed from the classroom and brought to the guidance counselor’s office where he claimed the drawing was part of a video game he was designing and informed counselors that he planned to pursue video game design as a career,” Thorne’s letter reads.
School staff then called in Crumbley’s parents. While waiting for them to arrive, staff spoke with and observed Crumbley, during which time he expressed concern about missing homework assignments.
“At no time did counselors believe the student might harm others based on his behavior, responses and demeanor, which appeared calm,” the letter reads.
When the parents finally got to the school, counselors asked Crumbley about his potential for harming himself or others, and his answers left counselors with the conclusion that he did not intend to harm anyone or himself. However, the parents never advised the school that he had access to a firearm or that they had purchased one for him recently.
The school recommended that Crumbley see a counselor and told the parents that if they did not arrange for counseling within 48 hours, the school would contact child protective services. When the parents were asked to take Crumbley home for the day, “they flatly refused and left without their son, apparently to return to work,” the letter states.
It continues: “Given the fact that the child had no prior disciplinary infractions, the decision was made he would be returned to the classroom rather than sent home to an empty house.”
One day before the shooting, a teacher had observed Crumbley shopping for bullets on his phone during class. Crumbley met with school staff and said shooting sports are a family hobby and that he had recently visited a shooting range with his mother. The school attempted to contact Crumbley’s mother “but did not initially hear back,” the letter states. The parents confirmed the account the following day.
The school district said it remains unconfirmed whether Crumbley was carrying the gun used in the rampage in his backpack. The superintendent said the district is seeking an independent, third-party review of the events surrounding the shooting.
Crumbley faces 24 charges for the deaths of four students and the wounding of seven more people, including a teacher. The parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are each facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
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[Feature Photo: Police Handout]