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Michigan shooting suspect's parents arrested after vehicle found in Detroit

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Posted at 3:39 PM, Dec 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-04 17:39:22-05

James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of the Oxford High School suspected shooter, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of involuntary manslaughter via zoom in 52-3 District Court.

The judge set a $500K bond cash surety with no 10% for James and Jennifer.

The defendants face a max penalty of 15 years and a $7,500 fine for each count.

A probable cause conference is set for Dec. 15 at 1:15 p.m., and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 22.

Police say James and Jennifer Crumbley were taken into custody on Detroit's east side overnight. They were arrested near St. Paul and Concord.

The couple's lawyers, Shannon Smith, and Mariell Lehman released a statement before arraignment:

"We understand that our clients were apprehended last night, although we fully intended to turn them in first thing this morning for arraignment, contrary to the misinformation that has been rampant in the media.

Unfortunately, this case presents the most unimaginable tragedy for every person involved, including every community member. While it’s human nature to want to find someone to blame or something to point to or something that gives us answers, the charges, in this case, are intended to make an example and send a message. The prosecution has very much cherry-picked and slanted specific facts to further their narrative to do that.

We intend to fight this case in the courtroom and not in the court of public opinion. We know that in the end, the entire story and truth will prevail."

According to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, Detroit police received a 911 call from a business owner who saw the couple's car in his parking lot on Bellevue near Jefferson in Detroit. He also reported seeing a woman near the vehicle. She ran from the scene when he called 911.

During a news conference early Saturday morning, Detroit Police Chief James White says a video of one of the suspects going into the building. They were arrested in a room inside a commercial building in the area. White says they have information that the couple was helped in getting into the building and that will be part of the investigation. When asked, White says someone let them into the building and they did not break in.

White also says they have identified the person who helped them and that person will face charges. White says whatever those charges will be will be determined by the office of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

The couple was located after a search by DPD, which included K-9 units. They were taken to the Oakland County Jail.

The revelation came just hours after 7 Action News learned police found the car the parents of Ethan Crumbley may have been traveling in. The couple's black 2021 Kia Seltos SUV with the Michigan license plate number DQG 5203 was reportedly found in the 1100 block of Bellevue on the east side of Detroit.

The car was found about a block from where they were ultimately taken into custody.

A large police presence converged on the scene shortly before midnight on Friday, searching the area centered on E. Lafayette, between E. Grand Boulevard and Mt. Elliott. Word of the arrest was confirmed by the Oakland County Sheriff's office shortly before 3:00 a.m.

It was hours after that office said they were actively searching for the fugitive parents of the suspected 15-year-old shooter in the Oxford High School tragedy.

James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley are each facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter. The suspect's father purchased the gun that was used in the deadly school shooting.

The Oakland County Sheriff's Department's fugitive team, the FBI, and the U.S. Marshals Office were all involved in the search.

According to a press release from the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, the couple's attorney contacted detectives to say repeated attempts to contact them had gone unanswered.

Shortly after the press release came out from the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, the attorneys representing the couple released the following statement:

On Thursday night we contacted the Oakland County prosecutor to discuss this matter and to advise her that James and Jennifer Crumbley would be turning themselves in to be arraigned. Instead of communicating with us, the prosecutor held a press conference to announce charges.

The Crumbleys left town on the night of the tragic shooting for their own safety. They are returning to the area to be arraigned. They are not fleeing from law enforcement despite recent comments in media reports.

On Nov. 30, officials say the suspect, Ethan Crumbley, opened fire in the south end of the school shortly before 1 p.m., killing four people and injuring seven. Tate Myre, 16, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Hana St. Juliana, 14, and Justin Shilling, 17, lost their lives in the shooting.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald revealed Friday what happened in the days leading up to the deadly Oxford High School shooting as she announced charges against the suspected shooter’s parents on Friday afternoon.

James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley are each facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

McDonald revealed that the day prior to the shooting, the suspect was reportedly searching for ammunition on his phone in class – when a teacher noticed. A call and email reportedly went out to Jennifer about the incident, which were unanswered, according to the prosecutor.

The following day, the day of the shooting on Nov. 30, the prosecutor says the suspect was discovered drawing a disturbing note in class. The drawings reportedly worried the teacher. McDonald said the suspect had drawn a gun pointing at the words, “the thoughts won’t stop, help me” along with a drawing of a bullet with the words, “blood everywhere” and a drawing of a person who appeared to be shot twice near a laughing emoji and the words “my life is useless.”

It was then the prosecutor said the suspect was called into a meeting with his parents at the school. At that time, McDonald said the suspect had already altered parts of the drawing. The parents were reportedly advised to get counseling for their son within 48 hours.

It was after that meeting that the suspect returned to class. The prosecutor said the parents failed to ask the suspect if he had the gun with him and failed to check his backpack.

The prosecutor said around 1:22 p.m. that day, Jennifer texted her son, “Ethan, don’t do it.”

About 10 minutes later, James reportedly called 911 to report a gun missing from their home. It was stored in an unlocked drawer in their bedroom, McDonald said.

Staff at WXYZ first reported this story.