Suspect identified, arrigned on murder and terrorism

By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
The suspect in the Nov. 30 mass shooting at Oxford High School was identified, charged and arigned on multiple counts of first-degree murder and other crimes on the afternoon of Dec. 1.
Identified by Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald, 15 year-old Ethan Crumbley is charged with one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in commission of a felony. The suspect is being charged as an adult and faces life in prison.

Ethan Crumbley, 15

“There are crimes that the legislature has said are so serious that a person who commits them can automatically be charged as an adult,” McDonald said. “First-degree murder is the most serious of all those crimes … There are facts leading up to the shooting that suggest this was not an impulsive act. Those facts are not appropriate for discussion right now because it could affect the prosecution of this case.”
Public safety concerns were also cited as the suspect cannot be released on adult charges.
First-degree murder charges require evidence of prior planning, which McDonald says the prosecution is “absolutely sure” it can prove premeditation.
“There is a mountain of digital evidence — videotape, social media,” McDonald said. “We have reviewed it and … we are confident that we can show it was premeditation.”
McDonald declined to say whether the victims were specifically targeted or targets of opportunity.
The terrorism charges stem from the wide-ranging effects the shooting will have on the OHS student body and the Oxford community at large.
“When we sat down and talked about the charges that were applicable in this case, the children that I have just listed and those that were injured [are] the victims in the first-degree murder charges and the assault with attempt to murder [charges],” McDonald said. “But what about the other children? What about the children who ran screaming, hiding under desks? What about all the children at home right now who can’t eat and can’t sleep and can’t imagine a world where they can ever step foot back in that school? Those are victims too, and so are their families and so is the community, and the charge of terrorism reflects that.”
McDonald is considering charging the suspects parents and that a decision would be made “swiftly,” later describing proper firearm storage procedures in relation to a question about the parents.
“We know that owning a gun means securing it properly, locking it and keeping the ammunition separate, and not allowing access to other individuals — particularly minors,” McDonald said. “We have to hold individuals accountable who don’t do that.”
Details on the evidence were brought to light around 4 p.m. when the suspect was arraigned in the court of Judge Nancy Carniak, county officials on-site at the 52-3 county courthouse in Rochester Hills while the suspect attended remotely from Children’s Village in Pontiac.
“Two seperate videos were recovered from Ethan’s cell phone taken in a search warrant,” Lt. Tim Willis of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) said. “[The phone] depicted a video made by him the night before the incident wherein he talked about shooting and killing students the next day at Oxford High School … [A] preliminary review of social media accounts indicate Ethan Crumbley had access to a firearm and he practiced with a Sig Sauer handgun.”
A journal was recovered from the suspect’s bag with notes detailing plans for the shooting, and prosecutors have security camera footage allegedly showing the suspect leaving a bathroom with a gun. The suspect pleaded “not guilty.” He was transferred to the Oakland County Jail after being arraigned, where he will be kept away from adult inmates.
The suspect’s father bought a 9mm Sig Sauer SP2022 handgun on Black Friday, four days before the shooting. The parents met with school officials Tuesday morning to discuss the suspect’s behavior, according to Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard at a press conference held around 3 p.m. The sheriff corrected several details following the investigation at OHS, stating the suspect had 18 unspent rounds on him in caught (previously stated as seven) and that 30 casings were discovered (previously stated as 12), indicating the suspect likely posed a greater threat to students and faculty than previously believed.
Community members and students with information relevant to the shooting are encouraged to contact the OCSO dispatch center at 248-858-4911.

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