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parents of a suspect in a deadly shooting at a Michigan high school faces charges of their own.

parents of a suspect in a deadly shooting at a Michigan high school faces charges of their own.

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Michigan high school
parents of a suspect in a deadly shooting at a Michigan high school faces charges of their own.—

Prosecutors in Oakland County have charged James and Jennifer Crumbley with involuntary manslaughter, alleging several negligent actions they took.

Authorities say Ethan Crumbley used his father’s handgun during a rampage in Oxford, about 35 miles (60 km) north of Detroit, this week.

He has pleaded not guilty on multiple charges including terrorism.

Four people were killed and seven were injured in the shooting on Tuesday.

The victims have been named as Tate Myre, 16, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Hana St Juliana, 14, and Justin Shilling, 17.

On Friday, Oakland County lead prosecutor Karen McDonald acknowledged that charging parents in a child’s alleged crime was unusual, but the facts of the case were “egregious”.

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According to her office’s investigation, the boy was with his father last Friday when Mr Crumbley bought the firearm believed to have been used in the shooting.

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A post on his social media later that day showed off his dad’s new weapon as “my new beauty”, Ms McDonald said.

Investigators said that Mr and Mrs Crumbley had recently been contacted by the school over concerning behaviour by their son, including several drawings of guns and bloodied people alongside captions like “the thoughts won’t stop” and “blood everywhere”.

On one occasion, a teacher found the teenager searching the word “ammunition” on his cell phone during class. School personnel reportedly were unable to reach his parents, but in a text exchange with his mother later, she said: “LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”

Ms McDonald said the charges are meant to hold the Crumbleys accountable as well as to send a message about responsible gun ownership.

“The notion that a parent could read those words and also know that their son had access to a deadly weapon that they gave him is unconscionable, and it’s criminal,” she said.

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The prosecutor had previously noted that, although the gun had been purchased legally, it “seems to have just been freely available” for the child’s use. According to her, the suspect took the gun from an unlocked drawer in his parents’ bedroom and brought it to school.

Neither federal nor state law requires gun owners to keep their weapons locked away from their children.

Further details have also emerged regarding a meeting between school personnel and the Crumbleys on the day of the shooting, in which the latter were reportedly instructed to place their son in counselling within 48 hours.

Neither parent knew or inquired about the whereabouts of the gun at the time, and their son remained in school.

In a video message posted to YouTube on Thursday, the school’s superintendent Tim Throne said that – while the boy and his parents had been called to the office – “no discipline was warranted” at the time.

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He added that the school looked like a “war zone” and would not be ready to operate again for weeks.

Ms McDonald alleged on Friday that, when James Crumbley heard about the shooting, he “drove straight to his home to look for his gun” before calling authorities to say he suspected his son was the perpetrator.

“I’m angry as a mother. I’m angry as a prosecutor. I’m angry as a person that lives in this county,” she said. “There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent.”

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