Mom's Text to Suspected Shooter: 'Ethan Don't Do It'

New details after parents of Ethan Crumbley are charged in deadly school assault
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2021 1:30 PM CST
Mom's Text to Suspected Shooter: 'Ethan Don't Do It'
This booking photo released by the Oakland County, Mich., Sheriff's Office shows Ethan Crumbley, 15.   (Oakland County Sheriff's Office via AP)

(Newser) – The parents of suspected school shooter Ethan Crumbley are now facing charges of involuntary manslaughter, and the prosecutor in Michigan's Oakland County provided new details Friday to justify the move. "The facts of this case are so egregious," said Karen McDonald after James and Jennifer Crumbley were charged in the shooting at Oxford High School that left four dead and seven injured. "While the shooter was the one who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there were other individuals who contributed to the events." Details:

  • Alleged gift: McDonald said it was clear that Ethan's parents bought him the semiauatomatic gun used in the attack as a present. While James Crumbley bought the weapon on Nov. 26, Ethan called it his "new beauty" in a social media post, reports USA Today. And Jennifer Crumbley put up a social media post of herself and her son at a gun range. "Mom and son day testing out his new Christmas present.” As CNN notes, Ethan cannot legally own the gun.

  • Internet search: A teacher saw Ethan looking up information about ammo on his phone days before the shooting, and the school left Jennifer Crumbley a voice mail about that search, per the Washington Post. McDonald said Jennifer Crumbley did not respond to the school but texted her son: "LOL I'm not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught."
  • Disturbing words, images: The morning of the shooting, Ethan's parents were called to the school to discuss a note found at Ethan's desk. It included the drawing of a gun and the words, "The thoughts won't stop, help me," per NPR. It also included drawings of a bullet, the words "blood everywhere," a bleeding victim, and laughing emoji, said McDonald. She added that Ethan had scratched out some of the words and images by the time his parents arrived for the meeting, at which he was present, per NBC News.
  • In his backpack? The parents "resisted" the idea of Ethan leaving school that day to get counseling, said McDonald. "Both James and Jennifer Crumbley failed to ask if their son had his gun with him or where his gun was located, and failed to inspect his backpack for the presence of the gun, which he had with him," she said. The teen stayed at school after the meeting and allegedly began shooting about three hours later.
  • Mom's text: Roughly a half-hour after the shooting began, as news reports surfaced, Jennifer Crumbley texted her son, "Ethan don't do it," said McDonald. James Crumbley, meanwhile, drove to their home, discovered the gun wasn't there, and called 911 to inform police of that and say he believed his son was the shooter.
  • Parting words: "I'm angry as a mother," said McDonald at her press conference. "I'm angry as the prosecutor. I'm angry as a person that lives in this county. I'm angry. There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent."
(Read more Ethan Crumbley stories.)

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