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Parents of alleged school shooter and terrorist charged with manslaughter

The parents of Ethan Crumbley, the alleged Michigan school shooter, have been arrested and charged with manslaughter.

On Friday, a prosecutor filed involuntary manslaughter charges against Jennifer and James Cumbley, who were subsequently arrested. There was speculation about the couple taking off after their son was arrested and charged, as they could be implicated with his crimes.

Their attorney, Shannon Smith, said they were not missing and that she could arrange their arrest if the charges were filed. The following day, their car was found in Detroit, leading to police finding them hiding in a warehouse, and arresting them. 

The prosecutor who filed the charges said the couple committed “egregious acts”, which included buying a gun on Black Friday, not locking the gun up, effectively giving their son access to it, and not intervening the day of the shooting when in a meeting about a disturbing drawing he had made. In a Zoom hearing after their arrest, they both pleaded “not guilty” to the charges. Afterward, a judge set their bond at $500,000 each.

Both Jennifer and James had posted to their social media about the gun purchase. A couple days later, on Monday, a teacher of Ethan’s saw him searching for ammunition on the Internet during class.

Later that day, he recorded a video where he talked about wanting to kill students. The teacher reported it and Jennifer was called and emailed, but didn’t respond. In a text obtained by police, she reportedly texted her son, “Lol. I’m not mad at you. You have to learn to not get caught.”

On the day of the shooting, a teacher found a disturbing drawing depicting someone who had been shot, with a laughing emoji, and the words, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me,” “blood everywhere,” “my life is useless,” and “the thoughts won’t stop.” The teacher reported the drawing, which led to a meeting with the student and his parents.

By the time Ethan was taken to the office, he had crossed out parts of the picture and claimed it was a video game poster he was designing. Because he had no disciplinary record, he was allowed to go back to class, although school officials recommended he go home.

His parents didn’t take him home and he returned to class and later emerged from the bathroom with a gun. Shortly after news of the shooting broke, Jennifer texted him. “Ethan don’t do it,” and James called 911 to report his gun missing and that he thought his son had it.

ARTICLE: RITA VOGT

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: WKBN.COM

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