Mother faces trial over son’s mass shooting at school

A mother who took her son to a shooting range just days before he shot dead four students at his US school, is to go on trial, charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Jennifer Crumbley and her husband, James Crumbley are the first parents to be charged in a mass US school shooting.

They gave their son, Ethan Crumbley, access to a gun, ignored his mental health needs and declined to take him home when shown his violent drawings at school on the day of the 30 November 2021 attack, according to prosecutors.

Ethan Crumbley
Ethan Crumbley was jailed for life without parole

They face four charges of involuntary manslaughter each, with Ms Crumbley’s trial expected to start this week, in Oakland County court, near Detroit, while Mr Crumbley will be tried separately in March.

It’s not disputed that James Crumbley, 47, bought a gun with Ethan at his side four days before the shooting, which Ethan, then aged 15, called “my new beauty”.

The semi-automatic handgun was a Christmas present.

Jennifer Crumbley, 45, took him to a shooting range and described the outing on Instagram as a “mom and son day”.

More on Ethan Crumbley

A day before the shooting, Oxford High School in Michigan told her that Ethan was looking at ammunition on his phone.

She forgave him, texting, “I’m not mad. You have to learn not to get caught.”

Jennifer and James Crumbley in court. File pic
Jennifer and James Crumbley in court. File pic

In December last year, Ethan Crumbley was jailed for life without parole after pleading guilty to murder, terrorism and other charges.

At his sentencing, he told a judge that he was a “really bad person” who could not stop himself.

Crumbley pleaded guilty to 24 charges, including first-degree murder and terrorism.
Ethan Crumbley in court

He said [his parents] “did not know and I did not tell them what I planned to do, so they are not at fault”.

A few hours before the shooting, the Crumbleys were summoned to the school.

Ethan had drawn violent images on a maths assignment with the message: “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.”

The parents were told to get him into therapy, but they chose not to remove him from school and left after less than 30 minutes, according to investigators.

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Ethan had brought a gun to school that day, 30 November 2021, though no one checked his rucksack.

He killed four students and injured seven more people before surrendering to police.

The parents were charged a few days later, after police found them, they said, “hiding in a building in Detroit”.

They could be jailed for up to 15 years, if convicted.

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