Michigan Authorities Consider Charges Against School Shooter's Parents

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Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald is considering charges against the parents of 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, the suspect in the mass shooting that killed four students and wounded seven others

In the wake of Tuesday’s mass shooting at Oxford High School in suburban Detroit that killed four students and wounded seven others, 15-year-old suspect Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult on two dozen counts, including terrorism, first-degree murder, attempted murder, and others.

As investigators look further into the circumstances behind the devastating school shooting, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald shared that Michigan authorities are “considering charges” against Crumbley’s parents as well, after authorities discovered that the handgun used by the suspect in the shooting was purchased by his father just days earlier, on Black Friday, reports the Detroit Free Press. (And yes, we are living in the cruelest, most dystopian hell.)

The local news outlet reports that McDonald shared plans for Crumbley’s parents in a news conference on Wednesday. “We know that owning a gun means securing it properly and locking it and keeping the ammunition separate and not allowing access to other individuals, particularly minors,” she said, adding, “We have to hold individuals accountable who don’t do that.”

Though she didn’t elaborate on which specific charges his parents might face, the state’s laws on charging an adult for a minor using that adult’s gun in the commission of a crime appear to be murky, as Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told the Detroit Free Press.

“We don’t have specific laws on the books that speak to that, like they have in other states,” adding, “Theoretically, if you had a case where you had a teenager who had demonstrated some sort of instability, mentally or suicidal or homicidal thoughts or actions, or anything to that extent, and in addition to that you still allowed this child to have unfettered access to a weapon, then theoretically I don’t think it would be a huge stretch to charge the parents with involuntary manslaughter under those circumstances.”

Along with the chilling fact that the semi-automatic weapon used in the shooting was purchased by Crumbley’s father just days earlier, the teen reportedly shared photos on social media engaging in target practice using it.

According to CNN, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard also shared at the same press conference that the suspect met with school officials on Monday, and then with his parents and school officials on Tuesday, the day of the shooting, with the meetings reportedly happening to discuss “concerning” behavioral issues Crumbley was having.

CNN notes that the shooting marks the deadliest at a U.S. K-12 school since 2018 and the 32nd school shooting in the U.S. since August 1. There’s seemingly no end to the amount of devastation, horror, and fear that American students and school staffers face just by going to school every day, and we can’t be alone in wondering when long-overdue nationwide gun control laws will be put into place. How many more times does this need to happen?