By COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press
PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) – A third party will investigate the events at Oxford High School ahead of a school shooting that left four dead and six other students and a teacher injured, the Michigan district principal said on Saturday.
Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne said in a statement he had called for an outside investigation because parents asked about “the school’s version of the events leading up to the shooting.” He also explained the interactions with the student before the shoot.
âIt is extremely important to victims, our staff and our entire community that full and transparent accounting is done,â Throne said.
His comments came after a press conference Friday by Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald, who detailed many warning signs of the student accused in the shooting: his search for gun ammunition on a cell phone and a drawing that showed a bullet with the words âblood everywhereâ above a person who appears to have been shot with âmy life is uselessâ and âthe world is deadâ.
At the school, about 50 kilometers north of Detroit, on Tuesday, the student was sent back to class after a school reunion with his parents. Three hours later, the shooting took place.
âThe school should have been responsible for passing this on to the sheriff’s office. It looks like it could have been avoided, âsaid Robert Jordan, founder and director of St. Louis-based Protecting Our Students, on Friday. âPeople have died because of these mistakes. “
In addition to Jordan, parents of students killed in a 2018 Florida school shooting said police should have been alerted before Tuesday’s rampage.
Oxford High shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, 15, is now charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes.
Prosecutors on Friday charged his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, with four counts each of manslaughter. They pleaded not guilty on Saturday and a judge imposed a combined $ 1 million bail.
The 9mm semi-automatic pistol used in the shooting was purchased at a local gun store on Black Friday by James Crumbley as an early Christmas present for his son, authorities said.
School officials became concerned about young Crumbley on Monday, a day before the shooting, when a teacher saw him searching for ammunition on his phone, McDonald told reporters.
On Tuesday, a teacher found a note on Ethan’s desk and took a photo. It was a drawing of a gun pointed at the words, “Thoughts will not stop.” Help me, âMcDonald said.
There was also a drawing of a bullet, she said, with words above: “Blood everywhere.” Between the gun and the bullet was a person who appeared to have received two bullets and was bleeding, she said. âMy life is uselessâ and âThe world is deadâ were also written.
Ethan Crumbley and his two parents met with school officials at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. His parents are gone and Ethan returned to school with his backpack, where investigators believe he hid the gun. Authorities were not notified, which County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said he wished it had been done.
At 1 p.m. Tuesday, the school erupted in gunfire, chaos and bloodshed.
“The school was responsible for making an immediate assessment of the threat to the student and involving the sworn police officer and law enforcement in this conversation,” said Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter 14-year-old Alyssa was one of 17 students killed. in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida.
About five weeks before the Stoneman Douglas shooting, an FBI whistleblower line received a call saying former student Nikolas Cruz had bought guns and planned to “sneak into a school and start shooting. the place “.
This information was never passed on to the FBI. Cruz, who had been kicked out of school a year earlier and had a long history of emotional and behavioral issues, was never contacted.
Now 23, Cruz pleaded guilty in October to 17 counts of first degree murder.
âWe have to take these threats seriously,â Alhadeff said.
But looking at such a problem after the fact raises other questions, said Christopher Smith, professor of law and public policy at Michigan State University and chairman of the Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.
You need to determine if “teachers and school officials have specifically in their training that you need to report all of these things,” Smith said.
In a video message to the community Thursday night, Throne acknowledged the reunion of Crumbley, parents and school officials. Throne gave no details but said “no discipline was warranted.”
In his statement on Saturday, Throne explained the events of Tuesday morning, saying the student was taken to the guidance counselor’s office where he claimed the drawing was part of a video game he was designing and that ‘he was planning to pursue a career in video game design. . He did his homework while waiting for his parents while counselors watched him.
âAt no point did the counselors think that the student might harm others because of their demeanor, responses and demeanor, which appeared calm,â Throne said.
“While both of her parents were in attendance, the counselors asked specific probing questions regarding the potential for self-harm or harm to others,” Throne said, adding that counseling was recommended to her and her parents had been informed. that they had 48 hours to request it. âWhen the parents were asked to bring their son home for the day, they categorically refused and left without their son, apparently to return to work. “
He said the student had not committed any disciplinary offense before, so he was allowed to return to class instead of being “sent home to an empty house”.
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