(OXFORD, Michigan) – New evidence uncovered in the discovery of Ethan Crumbley’s case would show that teachers and officials at Oxford High School failed to respond to warning signs presented by the gunman. school charged in the months leading up to the November 2021 shooting, attorney Ven Johnson, who is representing the victims and their families in a lawsuit, told reporters on Thursday.
The evidence was reportedly uncovered as multiple lawsuits against the school, school officials, the school district, Crumbley and his parents were filed. At least eight lawsuits accuse the school district and others of wrongdoing and inaction in the months and days leading up to the shooting, when teachers and counselors were allegedly aware of the accused shooter’s concerning behavior.
Oakland County Circuit Judge Rae Lee Chabot ordered the release of evidence in June, including school surveillance footage of the shooting. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith also barred coordinated discovery and other matters for eight civil lawsuits filed against the Oxford, Michigan, school and school officials.
Crumbley, who was a student at the school, is charged with 24 counts after he allegedly shot and killed four of his classmates on November 30, 2021.
His parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, are charged with four counts of manslaughter after they allegedly failed to recognize their son’s warning signs in the months leading up to the shooting.
All three Crumbleys have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Johnson, at a news conference on Thursday, said new details came to light after dropping off teachers and school employees who had direct contact with the accused shooter before the Nov. 30 shooting, including including email correspondence between school employees and several instances where Crumbley’s concerning behavior was not addressed.
Evidence allegedly uncovered included a school assignment submitted by Crumbley in late August 2021 on which he drew what Johnson claimed was a magazine full of bullets or a building. In sworn testimony, the teacher who discovered this drawing claimed that she only saw the drawing on November 29, just a day before the shooting.
In another instance, a Sept. 8 email from a Spanish teacher to the school counselor talks about a school assignment in which Crumbley allegedly wrote that he felt “terrible” and that his family “was a mistake,” Johnson said Thursday.
Although the school counselor was made aware of this case, the counselor never spoke to Crumbley, Johnson alleged.
Weeks later, a teacher emailed the school counselor on Nov. 10 raising concerns about Crumbley, saying he was going through a tough time and might need to speak to the counselor, a Johnson alleged.
The counselor said in his deposition that he went down to Crumbley’s classroom and asked him to come out into the hallway. The counselor then allegedly told Crumbley that if he was going through a difficult time, the counselor was available to talk to him. Crumbley reportedly responded “okay,” according to Johnson.
Johnson criticized the adviser’s actions, saying more needed to be done and that the adviser should follow up with Crumbley, given that this was the second time concerning behavior had been reported to the adviser. According to Johnson, another email discovered was sent by a teacher to the dean of students and another school official, telling them that Crumbley had been seen in class looking at pictures of balls on his cell phone. . The teacher then reviewed some of Crumbley’s earlier work completed earlier in the year and said he “leans a bit towards the violent side,” Johnson claims in the email.
Parents of Tate Myre, Justin Shilling and Keegan Gregory, all victims of the shooting, were present at the press conference with Johnson and criticized the school board’s lack of transparency in the months following the shooting, saying its members should resign. Its chairman resigned last week after months of backlash.
The school board had declined several offers from the state attorney general to investigate the shooting, saying it would launch a third-party investigation as soon as civil lawsuits against the district were completed.
Separately, a Michigan judge ruled on Thursday that Ethan Crumbley will remain in the Oakland County Adult Jail, as part of a monthly procedural hearing. Crumbley’s trial was originally scheduled to start in September, but was pushed back to January 2023.
Lawyers for the Oxford Community School District did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.