District declines Michigan AG offer to probe Oxford shooting
Michigan’s attorney general said her office won’t be the agency to conduct a school district’s planned third-party investigation into the events at Oxford High School that occurred before last week’s school shooting that left four students dead.
Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne has said a third party will investigate. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel had offered that her office could conduct the investigation, but she said in statement late Monday that the school district had declined her offer.
“Despite this outcome, my department will continue to support the ongoing criminal investigation in Oakland County and looks forward to meeting with parents, students and teachers when they are ready to share their thoughts,” she said. Nessel has said she could still investigate.
Throne wrote in a statement Saturday that the district has “asked an independent security consultant to review all district safety practices and procedures. An initial review including review of videotaped evidence show staff and students’ response to the shooter was efficient, exemplary and definitely prevented further deaths and injuries."
The district has not identified the firm conducting the review and has not responded to The Associated Press requesting information on who it is.
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald, who is overseeing the criminal case against the student accused in the Nov. 30 shooting and who took the rare step of charging his parents, left open the possibility Monday that school officials could also face charges, saying “in this case, a lot could have been done different."
She noted that three hours before Ethan Crumbley allegedly opened fire, killing four fellow students and wounding six others and a teacher, the 15-year-old was sent back to class after a meeting between school counselors and his parents over a drawing a teacher found on his desk that included a bullet and the words “blood everywhere.”
“In this case, a lot could have been done different. I mean at that meeting he was allowed to go back to school," she said Monday during an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“We know that he either had that weapon with him or someplace where he could have stored it in the school. But he had it in the school, there’s no question. And leaving the decision to parents about whether he goes home or not …" she added, not finishing the sentence.
Defense attorney Paulette Michel Loftin told AP on Tuesday that she has met twice with Ethan Crumbley since being appointed as his lawyer Thursday by Oakland County Circuit Court. Loftin said she told him that both of his parents have been charged and also are jailed. She declined to share the substance of her conversations with Ethan.
Loftin said she has requested and is awaiting discovery on the case from the prosecutor’s office.
“I only know what’s been said on the news,” she told AP. The discovery “simply is just not ready yet. There are thousands and thousands of pages. All of those pages have to be gone through and redacted. That takes time."
Throne said Crumbley and his parents met with counselors on the day of the shooting. He said counselors found the teen “calm” and didn’t believe he would harm others. The parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, were asked to take their son home but “flatly refused," Throne said.
Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes in the attack. And McDonald filed involuntary manslaughter charges against his parents, saying they failed to intervene on the day of the tragedy despite being confronted with the drawing and its disturbing message.
McDonald said Monday that Crumbley’s parents did not mention during the meeting at the school that Ethan had access to a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. Authorities say he used the gun to carry out the attack, and that his father bought it for him at a local gun shop on Black Friday as an early Christmas present. Although the gun was legally sold to James Crumbley, minors in Michigan cannot possess guns aside from in limited situations, such as when hunting with an adult.
The school is in Oxford Township, a community of about 23,000 people roughly 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit.
The parents were taken into custody early Saturday after they were caught hiding inside in the Detroit studio of artist Andrzej Sikora. The artist’s attorney said Sunday that he is cooperating with investigators and didn’t know the couple was facing charges or that they had stayed overnight at his studio while authorities were searching for them.
The couple’s attorneys have said they didn’t intend to flee.