Wyoming Responds: Should the Parents of Ethan Crumbley Be Held Responsible for Mass School Shooting?
It's the classic question of nature vs. nurture.
When Ethan Crumbley, the teenager who allegedly shot 11 of his classmates at Oxford High School, killing 4 and wounding 7, was arrested and jailed was no longer a perceived threat to the community, the shift quickly began to focus on his parents.
James and Jennifer Crumbley were charged on December 3rd with four counts of involuntary manslaughter because, prosecutors argue, they provided their son with the gun that he used to allegedly shoot his fellow students.
According to CNN, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald alleged that James Crumbley purchased a Sig Sauer 9mm handgun for his son, Ethan. Ethan then posted a picture of the handgun on his Instagram account and captioned it: "Just got my new beauty today. SIG SAUER 9mm," accompanied by a heart-eyes emoji.
MCDonald said that Jennifer Crumbley, Ethan's mother, posted to her own social media page, calling the gun "his new Christmas present."
McDonald said that the day before the shooting, a teacher saw Ethan Crumbley searching for ammunition on his phone and reported it to school officials.
CNN reported that, "Jennifer Crumbley did not respond to school officials when they called her about that conduct -- but later that day sent a text message to her son saying, 'LOL I'm not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,' McDonald said."
On the day of the shooting, November 30, another teacher alerted school authorities again after seeing a drawing from Ethan that showed a handgun pointing to the words: "The thoughts won't stop. Help Me."
James and Jennifer were called into the school on the day of the shooting and were told of the various drawings. Yet they still refused to pull their son out of school, and the school did not suspend him, McDonald said.
Later that afternoon is when Ethan began firing shots at schoolmates in the hallway and those who were hiding in a classroom.
Ethan was arrested and charged as in adult. He's been charged with 24 different counts, including four counts of first-degree murder and terrorism causing death.
Shortly after, Ethan's parents were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
After they were charged, the Crumbley parents were scheduled for an arraignment on Friday, December 3rd.
They never showed up.
CNN reported that the couple withdrew $4,000 from an ATM on Friday and that at first, authorities were tracking the couple via cell phone pings, but that the signal had dropped because the phones had been turned off.
An official manhunt began, but the couple were located the following Saturday morning on the first floor of an industrial building in Detroit.
"They appeared to be hiding in the building," said Detroit Chief of Police James White.
Both parents pled Not Guilty and are currently being held in the same county facility as their son, but all three are being kept apart from each other.
Obviously, this is a very complicated case. Opinions on the matter are inconsequential outside of a court of law. But, the court of public opinion being what it is, many Wyoming residents had a lot to say on the issue. As always, opinions were vast and varied, K2 Radio News is invested in giving the community a chance to have their voice heard. Below are some of the comments from Wyoming residents about whether James and Jennifer Crumbley should be held responsible for the actions of their son.