DETROIT (AP) — Some teachers and a counselor at a Michigan high school were aware of a teen’s troubling interest in guns and violence months before he was accused of fatally shooting four students and injuring others, said a lawyer representing the families of the victims Thursday.
“From the very beginning of school, Ethan Crumbley showed signs, to say the least, that he was a deeply troubled person,” said Detroit attorney Ven Johnson, citing statements made in a civil lawsuit against Oxford Community Schools and some Oxford employees. High School .
Crumbley, now 16, will be tried as an adult next year on murder and other charges in the Nov. 30 shooting.
A teacher said Crumbley appeared to be signing an ammunition magazine on a note in late August 2021. his favorite television programs.
About a week later, in an autobiographical poem assignment for a Spanish teacher, he wrote that he “feels awful and that his family is a mistake,” Johnson quoted from an email the teacher sent to a school counselor.
The teacher who received the note said in her statement that she had only seen the drawing the day before the shooting. There was apparently no follow-up to the Spanish teacher’s email in September asking the counselor to contact Crumbley, Johnson said.Read:Biden new environmental justice office to oversee $3 billion in grants
Prosecutors have said Crumbley used a semiautomatic pistol to open fire on other teens in the hallway of the school, about 30 miles north of Detroit. The four students killed were 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin and 17-year-old Justin Shilling.
Crumbley’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were charged with involuntary manslaughter and pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors accuse the couple of failing to keep the gun used in the shooting safe at home and of not reasonably caring for their son when he showed signs of mental distress.
The day before the shooting, a teacher saw Ethan Crumbley in class looking for ammunition on his phone. School officials left a voicemail to inform his mother.
On the morning of the shooting, Crumbley’s parents were called to the school and confronted with his drawings, which included a gun and the words, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.” Authorities said the parents refused to take him home after the 13-minute encounter and were told to help him.Read:Wildfire Smoke Is Erasing Progress on Clean Air
Several parents who attended Johnson’s press conference in Detroit on Thursday said they were unaware of some of the details revealed in the statements.
School district accused of withholding information
“I see no excuse for not taking these red flags very seriously,” said Jill Soave, mother of Justin Shilling. ‘We learn all those months later that this could have been prevented. These children should be with us today. There is no excuse. Anyone with any common sense could put the pieces together that something was very wrong.”
William Myre, Tate Myre’s father, accused the school district of withholding information that could have been used to prevent the shooting.Read:What are Florida evacuation zones, what do they mean?
“Meanwhile, we’re here to buy commemorative shirts for our murdered child,” he said, holding up a blue T-shirt. “What does Oxford Community Schools do? Nothing. Nothing.”
School inspector Ken Weaver said Thursday that the district has cooperated with the criminal investigation into the shooting.
“We are also fully cooperating with the civil process and will continue to do so,” Weaver said in a statement. “I remain convinced that the multiple investigations, lawsuits and third-party assessments of the school board will bring all the facts to light and create the full transparency and accounting of events that our community wants and deserves.”
Johnson filed a civil suit against the school district earlier this year. It also names Oxford High School’s student counselor, two counselors and three teachers as defendants.