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Parents of Michigan School Shooting Suspect Ignored Warning Signs and ‘Bought Him a Gun’: Prosecutor

“Disturbing texts,” animal abuse couldn’t cut through parents “extramarital affairs, financial issues and substance abuse,” prosecutor says in court filing.

A day after attorneys for the parents of suspected school killer Ethan Crumbley asked a judge to lower their clients’ bond, prosecutors responded that James and Jennifer Crumbley were too self-absorbed to get their son the help he needed despite obvious red flags “long before” the November 30 shooting.

A court filing from Thursday points out that the Crumbleys knew Ethan’s only friend had moved away, that the family dog had died, that Ethan was sad and “sending his mother disturbing texts about his state of mind.”

“Instead of paying attention to their son and getting him help, they bought him a gun,” the court documents say, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“They knew that their son was depressed, that he was fascinated with guns …  that he had been researching ammunition while at a school and that he was seen watching violent videos of shootings that morning,” Prosecutor Karen McDonald wrote in her filing. “Before they left school that day, they had also seen the disturbing drawings.”

The Crumbleys were called into school on November 30 after a teacher saw a drawing 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley made. It featured a handgun and the words, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me,” along with a sketch of someone bleeding. During the meeting at school, Ethan said it was part of a video game he was working on, and his parents insisted that he return to class, as CrimeOnline previously reported. Hours later, he allegedly opened fire in the hallway of Oxford High School, killing four students and wounding seven more people, including a teacher.

“Their son was torturing animals, even kept a baby bird’s head in a jar on his bedroom floor, which he later took and placed in a school bathroom,” the prosecutor’s filing says. “Meanwhile, the parents were focusing on their own issues, things like extramarital affairs, financial issues and substance abuse.”

McDonald wrote that the Crumbleys spent three to four nights a week at a barn caring for their horses for up to three hours at a time during the same time and that Jennifer Crumbley was engaged in “extramarital affairs,” the Free Press said.

The Crumbleys attorneys have argued that their clients are not a flight risk, despite having fled Oxford as McDonald filed charges against them, returning only when a witness reported them hiding in a warehouse in Detroit and they were captured.

The defense has previously argued that the parents are “devastated by the school shooting” and that the “did not know Ethan was a threat to anyone.”

Although the defense has denied the allegation, the prosecution has accused the Crumbleys of keeping the gun they bought their son as an early Christmas present in an unsecured location.

“All they had to do was tell the school that they recently purchased a gun for their son, and asked him where the gun was, open his backpack, or just take him home,” McDonald wrote in Thursday’s filing.

Further, McDonald wrote, Jennifer Crumbley reportedly told her boyfriend that the gun the couple bought for Ethan was in her car. Her husband noticed it was missing at their home and called 911 to report it.

James and Jennifer Crumbley have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each. Ethan Crumbley faces four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, one count of terrorism causing death, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. All three have pleaded not guilty.

Ethan Crumbley is being held without bond; his parents have been given $500,000 bond each, but his attorneys want that lowered to $100,000.

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