Michigan school officials had legal grounds to search suspect’s backpack and locker, but did not, prosecutor says

McDonald did not explain why such a search had not been carried out, but noted: “We don’t know exactly if this gun was in its bag, where it was, we just know it was in the bag. school and that there was access. “

When asked if school staff could be prosecuted, McDonald replied to CNN’s Brianna Keilar, “We haven’t ruled out charging anyone.”

“I sympathize with the parents, my husband and I raised five children,” said McDonald, adding “I am certainly not suggesting that parents should be prosecuted for any wrongdoing by a child. But in this case, you can perhaps not look at their actions and say that they had no reason to believe that there was genuine concern about an act of violence. ”

Ethan Crumbley, 15, is accused of shooting four classmates and injuring several others at Oxford High School last Tuesday. Her parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were charged with four counts of manslaughter in the same incident, CNN previously reported. All three have pleaded not guilty.

On the day of the shooting, Ethan Crumbley’s parents met with school officials after a teacher became concerned about some of the teen’s drawings and statements. But because the youngster had not committed any offense before, he was allowed to return to class.

“All of this could have been avoided if he hadn’t had access (to a gun) or if only one of those parents had said, ‘I’m concerned about what I’m seeing right now and I also want that. you know we just bought him a gun for Christmas, “and that didn’t happen,” McDonald said.

McDonald also said there was evidence beyond what has already been revealed that she will use to prosecute Crumbley and her parents in the shooting that left four students dead.

Parents and sons held in the same prison

The parents and the son were accommodated in the same establishment and supervised under suicidal supervision, indicated the authorities.

Staff at the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac were checking all three “several times an hour,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a press conference on Saturday.

The three are unable to communicate with each other in the prison, Bouchard said, and he did not believe Ethan Crumbley had been made aware of the charge and his parents’ arrest.

“He wouldn’t have known that we were looking for his parents since he’s isolated, and it’s not like we have a TV clicker in our hands,” Bouchard said on Saturday.

None of the Crumbleys had contacted their staff and there is “nothing to lead us to believe anyone has any mental health issues so far based on the records or information we have uncovered” , did he declare.

Ethan Crumbley was charged Wednesday as an adult with terrorism, first degree murder and other charges in the shooting that killed 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin; Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; and Justin Shilling, 17. In court on Wednesday, a defense lawyer pleaded not guilty on his behalf.
James and Jennifer Crumbley have pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charges, which have been brought before prosecutors claiming to have provided unrestricted access to the gun Ethan Crumbley is accused of using.
The parents were to attend an arraignment on Friday. Their failure to appear led authorities to search for the couple, who were found and apprehended on Saturday.

Lawyers for the parents say they intended to surrender to authorities before their arrest inside an industrial building near Detroit. “We intend to fight this case in the courtroom and not in the court of public opinion. We know that ultimately all history and truth will prevail,” the lawyers said. of the accused.

“They appeared to be hiding in the building,” Detroit Police Chief James White said at a press conference early Saturday. They were “very upset” after their arrest, the chief said.

White said he did not know the Crumbleys’ intentions, but added: “This does not indicate that they are surrendering, hiding in a warehouse”.

Photos provided by the Oakland County Sheriff's Office show, left to right, James Crumbley, Ethan Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley.

A man helped Crumbley’s parents get into his workspace

A man who police say helped the Crumbleys enter the building they were found has come forward and is cooperating with authorities, the man’s lawyer said.

Andrzej Sikora, 65, knew the Crumbleys were using his workspace, but he “didn’t really know what was going on” and didn’t know the couple “had active warrants” when they were discovered and then arrested, attorney Clarence Dass told CNN on Sunday.

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Sikora “made a commitment to it,” Dass said, but declined to comment on why he allowed the couple to stay in the workspace or to provide any additional details about their relationship other than saying “that he them. knew, but not well ”.

Surveillance footage showed an individual guiding the Crumbleys as they parked their vehicle in the back of the building during the day, a law enforcement official told CNN.

Dass told CNN his client was on the workspace for “a short period of time,” but was not there late Friday night and overnight when the Crumbleys were arrested, adding that he hadn’t realized the Crumbleys were in his space for “that long.”

Sikora “has been an honest citizen his entire life. A Polish immigrant, he dedicated his adult life to the arts and to the Detroit metropolitan community,” Dass said in a press release Sunday afternoon, adding that Sikora had contacted authorities to provide information on learning of the Crumbleys’ arrest.

Sheriff Bouchard said on Saturday law enforcement was collecting information and would present it to the county prosecutor on potential charges. As of Monday morning, Sikora had not been charged with any crime.

Superintendent requests third party investigation

Community Schools in Oxford, Michigan have called for an independent investigation into the shooting, Superintendent Tim Throne said in a letter to the Oxford school community on Saturday.
Throne provided details of the “school version of events” in the letter, highlighting the movements of shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley before and during the shooting.
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Tuesday morning, after a teacher alerted school counselors and the dean of the students to drawings and written statements made by the suspect, he was “immediately removed from the classroom” and taken to the office of a school counselor. guidance, Throne explained in the letter. A day earlier, the student was discovered looking at images of ammunition on his cell phone during class and said it was for his family’s shooting hobby, according to the letter.

The suspect told a school counselor that the design was for a video game he was designing, Throne said. Guidance counselors monitored the student in their office as they tried unsuccessfully to reach his parents for an hour and a half, according to the letter.

After the parents were contacted and arrived, the counselors asked about the student’s ability to harm, and the family’s responses “led the counselors to conclude again that he had not. intention to self-harm or injure others, ”the letter reads.

School counselors told parents they have 48 hours to seek advice for their son, otherwise the school would have to contact child protection services, the letter said. When asked to bring their child home for the rest of the day, Throne said the student’s parents “categorically refused”, leaving their son behind “to return to work”.

Because he had no disciplinary action on his record, school counselors decided to allow him to return to his classroom rather than send him to what they believed to be an empty house, Throne said, adding that the decision had not been shared with the director or assistant. main.

The suspect began firing his gun “during the time between lessons as hundreds of students stood in the hallway moving from one classroom to another” later in the morning Throne said, and he doesn’t know if the gun was in the student’s backpack.

“Before the shooter could walk a short distance into the main hallway, students and staff had already entered classrooms, locked doors, erected makeshift barricades and locked or fled depending on their training. “said Throne. “The suspect was unable to access a single classroom.”

An initial review of videos of the shooting showed that “the response of staff and students to the shooter was efficient, exemplary and definitely avoided further fatalities and injuries,” the superintendent said.

An independent security consultant was assigned to review the district security procedures and practices implemented by teachers and staff during Tuesday’s shooting, Throne said.

School reopening plan unveiled

The plan to return students to Oxford High School “is evolving”, but it will be “some time before the school is ready to serve as an educational setting again,” Throne said in a letter to the community on Sunday.

The Oxford Community School district, which has been closed since Tuesday, released its reopening plan which includes a “smooth opening” with a law enforcement presence as well as clinicians trained to support students and staff.

“It is widely accepted that it is vital for the well-being and mental health of our students and staff to return to a learning environment as soon as possible,” Throne wrote in the letter.

Bereavement counselors are currently available at various schools. All high school track and field competitions are canceled for the week, but practice is scheduled to begin Thursday in other locations.

“The plan for high school students is always evolving and we will communicate that to you once it is solidified. In the meantime, we are working to create opportunities for students to come together in our community. We will share this information once it is final, ”Throne wrote.

After training later this week, elementary schools and a few selected programs will be back on Friday for half a day and next Monday, December 13, for full days.

CNN’s Amanda Watts, Sonia Moghe, Shimon Prokupecz, Carolyn Sung, Elizabeth Joseph, Brian Vitagliano, Mark Morales, Jason Hanna, Aya Elamroussi and Susannah Cullinane contributed to this report.

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