The parents of accused Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley were seen weeping and shaking their heads during their arraignment Saturday morning as their involuntary manslaughter charges were read aloud, and the judge set their bail at $500,000 each.
James, 45, and Jennifer, 43, Crumbley were captured early Saturday in the basement of a building on the 1100 block of Bellevue Street in Detroit, less than half a mile from the Canadian border, police said. They were taken into custody after leading authorities on a large-scale manhunt.
Both Crumbleys pled not guilty to all four charges of involuntary manslaughter – one for each Oxford High School student who was killed Tuesday. Each count is punishable by up to 15 years in prison along with a $7,500 fine and mandatory DNA testing.
Their 15-year-old son is accused of killing four and injuring several others after opening fire in the school. Ethan was charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism, and is being held at the same jail as his parents.
Judge Julie Nicholson announced Saturday that the parents’ bond must be paid in full, and they will be required to wear a GPS tracker if they make bail. The couple were booked at Oakland County Jail and remained there following the arraignment.
James and Jennifer were arraigned around 9:30 a.m. as they joined a video conference from separate rooms at the jail. They called into district court in Rochester Hills with their hired legal council Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman.
Both Crumbleys could be seen breaking down as Jennifer’s charges and potential jail time were first read by the judge.
Jennifer was noticeably distraught and sat hunched over with her face in her hands for most of the virtual meeting. James, too, was seen at times shaking his head; both broke down in tears at various points during the arraignment.
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James and Jennifer Crumbley, pictured, wept as they each pled not guilty on all four counts of involuntary manslaughter Saturday
James, 45, (top left) and Jennifer, 43, (top center) Crumbley were each granted a $500,000 bond, which must be paid in full
James (left) and Jennifer Crumbley (right) were booked into the Oakland County Jail early Saturday morning after they were arrested in Detroit less than a mile from the Canadian border. The couple led authorities on a large-scale manhunt after fleeing involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the deadly school shooting said to be perpetrated by their son
‘I understand,’ Jennifer replied through tears as Nicholson read through each charge. James shook his head in disagreement as prosecutor Karen McDonald summarized her version of the case implicating the parents in their son’s deadly rampage.
‘These two individuals could have stopped it and had every reason to know he was dangerous,’ McDonald told the judge. She claimed that not one person in the community would vouch in favor of either Crumbley.
But Smith denied that the Crumbleys had any responsibility for their son’s alleged crimes. She adamantly declared that it is ‘absolutely not true’ that they gave their child ‘free access’ to the weapon he used to kill several students at his Michigan high school.
The defendants’ legal council noted the Crumbleys’ employment and quickly brushed over their past criminal history in a plea for bail to be set lower, at $50,000 or $100,000.
Smith and Lehman also denied that their clients were attempting to flee prosecution and told the judge that they plan to fight the charges.
The Crumbleys’ arrest was without incident and came after the U.S. Marshals offered a $10,000 bounty for information leading to their capture when they fled Friday after involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the school massacre were announced. Their absence prompted a manhunt involving several agencies, including the Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force, state police and the FBI.
Video shows a handcuffed Jennifer Crumbley walking into the Oakland County Jail early Saturday morning
James and Jennifer Crumbley were the target of a federal manhunt; US Marshals placed a $10,000 bounty on information leading to their arrest after they were charged with involuntary manslaughter on Friday
Ethan, 15, is seen in his booking photo released by Oakland County sheriff’s office and wearing a heavy suicide-prevention vest at his arraignment hearing in Pontiac on Wednesday
Timeline of Oxford High School Shooting:
Ethan’s father James purchases the 9 mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 for Ethan from Acme Shooting Goods in Oxford.
His son was with him.
Jennifer posts a message on social media that read: ‘Mom and son day testing out his new Xmas present.’
Teacher sees Ethan Crumbley searching about ammunition on his cell phone during class, leading to a meeting with the student.
His mother Jennifer is contacted about an ‘inappropriate internet search.’ The school followed up via email but received no response.
That same day, Jennifer texts Ethan ‘lol I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught,’ Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said.
A teacher finds a chilling note on Ethan’s desk that featured disturbing drawings depicting a gun, a bullet, blood everywhere, a shooting victim and a laughing emoji.
The note included the words: ‘Thoughts won’t stop, help me’; ‘my life is useless’ and ‘the world is dead,’ McDonald said.
Jennifer and James are immediately summoned to the school for a meeting.
They failed to ask if their son had the gun with him or where it was, and they failed to inspect his backpack for the gun, which he did have with him, McDonald said.
They left the school without Ethan.
Ethan allegedly shoots and kills four students
Jennifer texts Ethan ‘don’t do it.’
The shooting had already taken place.
James calls 911 to report the gun missing and said he thinks his son might have it.
Ethan is charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism.
Prosecutor Karen McDonald signals that Ethan’s parents are under scrutiny and said she hoped to announce charging decision ‘in the next 24 hours.’
McDonald announces that Jennifer and James are charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter.
The couple were last seen near Rochester Hills before leading authorities on a manhunt for several hours.
They withdraw $4,000 from an ATM in the area before leaving the motel they had been staying at since Tuesday after the shooting.
The couple were scheduled to be arraigned at 4pm but stopped communicating with their attorneys, prompting state and federal officials to launch a manhunt.
Crumbleys’ lawyers said their clients had left for their own safety and were not on the run.
Later in the day:
Oakland County sheriff complained after the charges were announced that he did not get an advance warning of the charges being filed against the pair and learned of them from media reports.
Jennifer and James did not show up to court, but their lawyer said they ‘are returning’ and ‘would be turning themselves in to be arraigned.’
A tipster reports the Crumbleys’ abandoned Kia in a neighborhood on the east side of Detroit.
A massive manhunt of the area leads to their capture in the basement of a nearby building – less than a mile from the Canadian border.
James and Jennifer are booked at the Oakland County Jail.
The Crumbleys appear for their video conference arraignment from separate rooms in the jail.
They each pleaded not guilty to all four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Judge Julie Nicholson set each parent’s bond at $500,000, which must be paid in full.
They remain at Oakland County Jail after the virtual meeting, which is also where their son Ethan is being held.
Smith claimed during arraignment that ‘facts that have been presented have been cherry picked’ by the prosecution ‘to make an example’ out of the Crumbleys.
The Crumbleys will be required to appear in-person for the probable cause conference the afternoon of December 14. The preliminary examination will take place the morning of December 22.
Police were led to a commercial building, where the Crumbleys appeared to be hiding, by a tip from a Detroit business owner and were captured on video going inside, Detroit Police Chief James White said early Saturday morning.
Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said a woman was spotted near the vehicle and ran away when the business owner called police.
White also said the two did not break in and were helped by an unnamed accomplice who let them into the building.
Their connection to the building is unclear; other charges connected to aiding the Crumbleys are likely, White said.
‘We understand that our clients were apprehended last night although we fully intended to turn them in first thing this morning for arraignment, contrary to the misinformation that has been rampant in the media,’ the Crumbleys’ lawyers had said ahead of the arraignment Saturday.
‘Unfortunately, this case presents the most unimaginable tragedy for every single person involved, including every member of the community. While it’s human nature to want to find someone to blame or something to point to or something that gives us answers, the charges in this case are intended to make an example and send a message. The prosecution has very much cherry- picked and slanted specific facts to further their narrative to do that.
‘We intend to fight this case in the courtroom and not in the court of public opinion. We know that in the end the entire story and truth will prevail.’
Around 10 p.m. Friday, hours after a 4 p.m. deadline for their surrender, police found the couple’s abandoned black 2021 Kia Seltos SUV on the east side of Detroit, within walking distance to the Detroit River, which forms the border between Canada and the U.S.
Detroit Police had launched a massive manhunt for the parents in the area around the abandoned Kia, locking down a radius of several blocks and deploying K-9 units to track their possible path on foot.
White said the two were hiding in a room in the basement of the building, which is used for artwork, and that both were ‘distressed’ and ‘very upset’ with one of the parents hanging their head down when they were arrested. They were not armed.
Prosecutors say the parents bought the gun their son used to kill four as a Christmas present on Black Friday, and failed to secure it after he penned a disturbing note saying ‘thoughts won’t stop, help me.’ They each face 15 years in prison if convicted.
Law enforcement sources say the couple withdrew $4,000 from an ATM and were last seen around 2-3 p.m. near Rochester Hills on Friday. They had been under surveillance at a motel where they had been staying since the shooting on Tuesday.
Due to a communication breakdown between agencies, the surveillance was suspended by Friday morning and the parents left the motel unobserved before the charges were announced by prosecutors, according to WDIV-TV.
The Crumbleys’ attorneys, Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman had earlier insisted that their clients were not on the lam and were returning to face the charges.
‘On Thursday night we contacted the Oakland County prosecutor to discuss this matter and to advise her that James and Jennifer Crumbley would be turning themselves in to be arraigned,’ the lawyers said in a statement obtained by DailyMail.com.
‘Instead of communicating with us, the prosecutor held a press conference to announce charges.
‘The Crumbleys left town on the night of the tragic shooting for their own safety. They are returning to the area to be arraigned. They are not fleeing from law enforcement despite recent comments in media reports.’
However, Smith and Lehman didn’t say when or whether a voluntary surrender had been arranged, and the Oakland County Sheriff’s office said it was not aware of any such plans.
‘This isn’t indicative of turning yourself in — hiding in a warehouse,’ White said.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said he only learned of the charges being filed against the Crumbleys from media reports and had no advance warning from the prosecutors, which he said would have allowed his agency to secure the suspects before the charges were made public.
He told CNN police began searching for the Crumbleys after the couple’s attorney told his office that the Crumbleys stopped responding to messages Friday afternoon.
‘If they think they’re going to get away, they’re not,’ Bouchard had said, adding that a ‘host’ of detectives, as well as the FBI and the US Marshals Service, were looking for them.
After the attorneys for the Crumbley parents claimed they were returning to face charges, local law enforcement said they were unaware of such an arrangement.
‘If they are, it’s news to us,’ Undersheriff Mike McCabe told ABC News, saying authorities still don’t know where the couple is located.
In charging the parents, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald alleged that the parents ignored multiple warning signs and refused to take their son out of school just hours before the shooting took place.
Jennifer bragged on social media about going out with Ethan to test his Christmas present – a 9mm handgun – just three days before the shooting at Oxford High School, and just one day after her husband James had purchased the gun for Ethan.
On Friday night, hours after a 4pm deadline for their surrender, police in Detroit discovered the couple’s abandoned black 2021 Kia Seltos SUV (above in a photo brightened for visibility) on the east side of Detroit
The Crumbley parents were in custody after a manhunt in Detroit in the early hours of Saturday following the discovery of the black Kia SUV that was of interest to police. Pictured: Police search a building of interest near the Kia
The abandoned Kia (right) was reported to police by a tipster in the area who noted it matched the description
Michigan authorities, the FBI and US Marshals Service were all looking for James (left) and Jennifer (right) Crumbley, who had a fugitive warrant out for their arrest after charges were announced against them
Michigan school shooter’s parents have criminal histories including charges of DUI and passing bad checks
James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of accused Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, 15, both had a history of run-ins with the law, which did not prevent the dad from buying a gun on Black Friday.
Court records from Florida indicate that on February 12, 2005, the pair were charged with driving under the influence. They pleaded no contest and were fined $652 each,
James’ criminal record in Florida also includes a charge of driving with a suspended license and having an improper tag, which cost him more than $200 in fines
Two years prior to the DUI case, Jennifer was accused of passing a bad check in the amount of $150, earning her a misdemeanor charge that was ultimately dismissed.
She was accused again in 2004 of writing a phony check and was fined $240.
James’ history of run-ins with the law did not impede him from passing a background check when purchasing the 9mm Sig Sauer on November 26.
Source: NY Post
During a press conference Friday, McDonald revealed stunning new details leading up to the shooting that took place Tuesday afternoon, including that Jennifer texted her son about 30 minutes after the rampage saying, ‘Ethan, don’t do it,’ and that her husband James called 911 to report that his gun – a 9 mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 – was missing and that Ethan was likely the shooter.
The prosecutor revealed that James, who – like his wife – had a prior criminal history, bought the murder weapon from a retailer with his son there on November 26. He stored the 9mm handgun in an unlocked drawer in his bedroom, McDonald said.
The next day, Jennifer posted about the Christmas present to Instagram with the caption: ‘Mom & son day testing out his new Xmas [sic] present.’ Jennifer’s Instagram account has since been taken down.
Two days later, on November 29, McDonald said a teacher at Oxford High School observed Ethan searching ammunition on his cell during class and reported it to school officials.
Ethan had a meeting with school administrators, and his mother Jennifer was contacted via voicemail by the school about her son’s inappropriate internet search. Officials also followed up with an email but received no response, the prosecutor said.
The mother later exchanged texts with her son on that day stating: ‘lol, I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught,’ McDonald said Friday.
She also revealed that on the morning of the shooting, a teacher found a chilling note on Ethan’s desk, which featured disturbing drawings depicting a semi-automatic gun, a bullet, a shooting victim and a laughing emoji.
According to the prosecutor, the note included the words ‘blood everywhere,’ ‘thoughts won’t stop, help me,’ ‘my life is useless’ and ‘the world is dead.’
Jennifer and James were immediately summoned to the school to discuss their son’s worrying behavior. A school counselor was able to obtain the note with the drawings, but McDonald said by then its contents had been ‘altered.’
The doodles of the gun and the bullet-ridden figure were ‘scratched out,’ as well as Ethan’s writings.
Police including State Troopers and US Marshalls from the Fugitive Task Force search a building of interest in the manhunt
Detroit Police launched a massive manhunt for the parents in the area around the abandoned Kia, locking down a radius of several blocks deploying K-9 units to track their possible path on foot
The Crumbley parents were taken into custody after a manhunt in Detroit in the early hours of Saturday following the discovery of the black Kia SUV that was of interest to police
A police command post leads the manhunt in Detroit early on Saturday, leading to the arrest of the Crumbleys
A police officer is seen outside the Crumbly family’s home in Oxford, Michigan, on Friday
On Thursday, a holiday sign reads ‘Joy’ and packages are piled on the porch at the Crumbley family’s home. Police say Jennifer and James Crumbley are on the run
A neighbor of the Crumbleys is pictured picking up packages and taking them in for them on Thursday
On an Instagram account which has since been deleted, Ethan bragged about getting his ‘new beauty’ – a 9mm Sig Sauer – on November 26. The next day, his mother, Jennifer Crumbley, shared a post on her now-defunct Instagram account featuring the gun and the caption: ‘mom & son day testing his new Xmas present’
During the meeting, the Crumbleys were shown the note and were advised that they were required to get Ethan into counselling within 48 hours.
According to the prosecutor, the mother and father failed to ask Ethan if he had his gun with him, or where his gun was, and did not inspect his backpack.
McDonald said the parents ‘resisted’ the idea of pulling their son out of school at that time and left without him.
Officials previously said that at 12:51 p.m., Ethan walked into a bathroom at Oakland High School with a backpack, then emerged less than a minute later carrying the Sig Sauer handgun and opened fire.
At 1:22 p.m. – more than 30 minutes after the shooting was first reported – Jennifer texted her son, saying: ‘Ethan, don’t do it,’ the prosecutor said.
At 1:37 p.m., James called 911, reporting his newly purchased gun missing. He also told an emergency dispatcher that he believed his son might be the shooter at Oxford High School.
James and Jennifer were scheduled to be arraigned Friday at 4 p.m., but authorities reported the pair were not in custody as of late Friday afternoon.
Charging documents allege that the parents caused the death of each of the four deceased victims by ‘storing his or her firearm and its ammunition so as to allow access to the firearm and ammunition by his or her minor child or the grossly negligent failure… to exercise reasonable care to control his or her minor child so as to prevent him from intentionally harming others or from so conducting himself so as to create an unreasonable risk of bodily harm to others knowing that he or she has the ability to control his or her child and knowing of the necessity and opportunity to do so.’
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement on Friday that she agrees with McDonald’s decision to criminally charge the Crumbleys.
‘I fully support Prosecutor McDonald’s issuance of charges against Jennifer and James Crumbley,’ she wrote. ‘Demanding accountability of a child’s parents under the circumstances presented is not just appropriate, it’s crucial. Justice demands no less.
‘My heart continues to go out to the families who lost their child in this unfathomable tragedy. We must not let this pass without properly addressing gun violence and responsible gun ownership.’
Under Michigan law, an involuntary manslaughter charge can be pursued if prosecutors believe someone contributed to a situation where the probability of harm or death was high.
‘The parents were the only individuals in the position to know the access to weapons,’ McDonald said Thursday. The gun, which Ethan’s father, James Crumbley, had just purchased four days before the rampage, ‘seems to have been just freely available to that individual.’
‘These charges are intended to hold the individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable and also send the message that gun owners have a responsibility.
‘When they fail to uphold that responsibility, there are serious and criminal consequences.’
Ethan has been charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism, for the shooting on Tuesday.
Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald announced manslaughter charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley on Friday afternoon
Three Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies survey the grounds outside of the Crumbley residence while seeking James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of alleged Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, on Friday
The gun store where authorities say James Crumbley purchased the gun that his son Ethan Crumbley, a suspect in the Oxford High School shooting, used in the school shooting rampage
Pictured: Jennifer Crumbley and James Crumbley, the parents of school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, were charged on Friday with involuntary manslaughter
Crumbley’s father James, who owns the gun he used in the attack, and his mother Jennifer are pictured on Zoom attending the arraignment
He is being held without bail at Oakland County Jail – the same location where his parents are currently being held.
The school shooting – the deadliest in the U.S. since 2018 – claimed the lives of Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17. Seven more people were injured. Three were in hospitals in stable condition.
At an arraignment in Pontiac, Michigan, on Wednesday Ethan sat mum, masked and suited in a heavy suicide-prevention vest, while attorneys and his parents joined in by video conference.
The teen was charged as an adult because the crimes are ‘serious’ and the attack was premeditated.
Prosecutors described watching ‘horrific’ surveillance video footage of the shooting.
‘What’s depicted on that video, honestly, judge, I don’t have the words to describe how horrific that was,’ Assistant Prosecutor Marc Keast told a judge on Wednesday.
Keast said the video of the attack showed Crumbley enter a bathroom at the school with a backpack before he emerged with a gun.
‘At that point, he deliberately aimed the gun at students and began firing at students. After students started running he continued down the hallway pointing the gun and firing (at them) and firing in classrooms and at students who were unable to escape.
‘He methodically and deliberately walked down a hallway, aiming the firearm at students and firing. After children started running away from the defendant, he continued down the hallway again at a deliberate and methodical pace, pointing and aiming inside classrooms and at students who hadn’t had the opportunity to escape,’Keast said.
A man believed to be James Crumbley wrote in a Facebook comment: ‘Trump will protect our 2nd amendment! I want my child to get a gun’
In the long-winded open letter on her blog, Jennifer praised Trump’s support of gun rights, and blamed her son’s academic struggles on Common Core
On an Instagram account that has since been deleted, there were sinister, horror-movie style faces, along with more recent posts of a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol and a paper target with bullet holes through it.
It was not possible to independently verify the account but police said Ethan ‘had been shooting with [the 9mm handgun] and posted pictures of a target and the weapon.’
In 2016, Jennifer wrote a rambling open letter to then-President Donald Trump, praising his support for Second Amendment rights – a sentiment that was echoed in her husband’s Facebook comment, where he also wrote that he wanted his child ‘to get a gun.’
In her letter, the 43-year-old mom wrote in part: ‘as a female and a Realtor, thank you for allowing my right to bear arms. Allowing me to be protected if I show a home to someone with bad intentions. Thank you for respecting that Amendment.’
Jennifer also spoke of her son’s struggles with math in school, appearing to blame Common Core, and complained about illegal immigration and the woes of middle class Americans.
Parents are rarely charged in school shootings involving their children, even as most minors get guns from a parent or relative’s house, according to experts.
Michigan has no law on the books that requires gun owners to keep weapons locked away from children. McDonald, however, suggested there’s more to build a case on.
All I can say at this point is those actions on mom and dad’s behalf go far beyond negligence,’ she told WJR-AM. ‘We obviously are prosecuting the shooter to the fullest extent. … There are other individuals who should be held accountable.’
Sheriff Mike Bouchard disclosed Wednesday that the parents met with school officials about their son’s classroom behavior, just a few hours before the shooting.
McDonald said information about what had troubled the school ‘will most likely come to light soon.’
Investigators said the attack was premeditated, citing videos Crumbley recorded the night before in which he talked about shooting students, as well as a journal recovered from his backpack that described his intent to murder classmates.
Crumbley stayed in school Tuesday and later emerged from a bathroom with his father’s new gun, firing at students in the hallway, police said.
The superintendent for the district late Thursday posted a YouTube video where he said the teenager was called to the office before the shooting but ‘no discipline was warranted.’
On an Instagram account which has since been deleted, there are sinister horror-movie style faces, along with more recent posts of a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol and a paper target with bullet holes through it (left). It was not possible to independently verify the account but police said Crumbley ‘had been shooting with [the 9mm handgun] and posted pictures of a target and the weapon’
Justin Shilling, 17, (left) died in the hospital on Wednesday morning and Tate Myre (right) died in the school on Tuesday
Madisyn Baldwin, 17, (left) and Hana St Juliana, 14, (right) died in Tuesday’s shooting rampage at Oxford High School in suburban Detroit
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer embraces Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter as the two leave flowers and pay their respects Thursday morning
Tim Throne, leader of Oxford Community Schools, said the high school looks like a ‘war zone’ and won´t be ready for weeks. But he repeatedly credited students and staff for how they responded to the violence.
‘To say that I am still in shock and numb is probably an understatement. These events that have occurred will not define us,’ Throne, grim-faced and speaking slowly, said in the 12-minute video.
‘I want you to know that there´s been a lot of talk about the student who was apprehended, that he was called up to the office and all that kind of stuff. No discipline was warranted,’ Throne said. ‘There are no discipline records at the high school. Yes this student did have contact with our front office, and, yes, his parents were on campus Nov. 30.’
EXCLUSIVE: ‘Nothing ever seemed off.’ Ethan Crumbley’s older brother, 18, says the school shooting suspect, 15, was an ‘average, happy kid’, got good grades, was into Minecraft and WASN’T bullied as a child
Speaking exclusively with DailyMail.com, Eli Crumbley, 18, said he can’t understand how his own sibling could suddenly snap, open fire, and kill his classmates, following the deadly rampage in Oxford, Michigan on Tuesday.
‘The Ethan I knew was just a smart boy who just seemed like an average kid,’ he said in an interview on Wednesday. ‘There was nothing that ever stood out to me. He’d never get suspended from school, or detention.
‘He didn’t suffer depression or anything like that. He woke up happy, went to school, came home and played games.’
Eli and Ethan, 15, have the same father, but different mothers. Originally from Florida, the two boys later moved to Michigan with their dad James Crumbley and his second wife, Ethan’s mom, Jennifer.
Eli, 18, (left) and Ethan, 15, (right) have the same father, but different mothers. The two boys grew up in Florida but later moved to Michigan with their dad James Crumbley and his second wife, Ethan’s mom, Jennifer
The older brother hinted at some family turmoil that prompted him to abruptly move out last March, to live with his biological mother in Florida where he grew up.
‘It mostly had to do with the relationship between my stepmother and I,’ Eli said. He wouldn’t elaborate other than to say: ‘It wasn’t as great as it could be. Moving back to Florida was the best option for me.
Ethan remained living with his parents in a small home in Oxford, less than two miles from where he opened fire.
Eli said he hadn’t spoken with Ethan or his father in two months but reached out to his dad Tuesday night only after hearing the news of a mass shooting at Oxford High School.
‘I was worried, I wanted to see if Ethan was okay because I knew he went there,’ said Eli, who also attended the school for a year. ‘And then that’s when I was receiving information otherwise.’
Unable to reach his dad, the 18-year-old called a former employer who told him that his old house in Oxford was surrounded by FBI agents.
He then learned that his own father bought the gun that Ethan used.
‘I didn’t know he had a gun till after this happened,’ he said. ‘It’s still hard to believe,’ he said. ‘I can’t believe it.’
‘As far as I knew, Ethan was always good,’ Eli added. ‘He was just quiet, kept to himself, kept his circle of friends small. He was a clean kid, didn’t smoke or do drugs, nothing.’
‘And he got good grades,’ Eli said. ‘He wanted to be an archaeologist.’
‘When I was living there, nothing seemed off, ‘ he continued. ‘We’d just walk to the bus stop in the morning, go to school, come home, maybe play some football outside or basketball. We’d just chill, wouldn’t do much.’
Ethan was on the bowling and soccer teams in middle school, he said, but didn’t play team sports in high school.
He said his brother’s biggest hobby was video games, which he’d play at night. His favorite was Minecraft.
Asked whether he knew of any other problems Ethan was experiencing, Eli noted that they had an aunt who died a couple months ago and that Ethan recently also lost his pet dog, Tank.
‘I really don’t know what his reasoning was behind this,’ Eli said.
He was surprised to hear that bullying may have been a factor. Ethan wasn’t ever bullied as a child, according to Eli.
‘I would like to talk to him,’ he said, ‘but I don’t think that’s something that’s going to happen for a while.’