The mother of Ethan Crumbley, the 15-year-old boy accused of killing four classmates at his Oxford, Michigan high school, sent him texts warning him not to get caught after the boy was found reading about ammunition on his phone while in class and telling him “don’t so it” after initial reports of shots fired at the school became public.
Mr Crumbley’s parents Jennifer and James Crumbley were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter on Friday.
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald revealed Jennifer Crumbley's troubling texts during a press conference announcing the charges.
"Ethan don't do it," she texted her son after news reports began circulating that shots had been fired at the high school, Ms McDonald said. Her husband rushed home to look for the gun and called 911 to report it missing. He told the dispatcher that he believed his son was the shooter at the high school.
"LOL I'm not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught," the woman allegedly texted her son after he was caught searching ammunition on his phone at school and officials contacted the parents about it.
The handgun Mr Crumbley used in the shooting was purchased for him by his father, Ms McDonald said.
He allegedly shared a social media post about the weapon the day after it was bought, saying he was "testing out his new Christmas present”.
News reports revealed that Jennifer Crumbley once wrote an open letter to former President Donald Trump praising his support of gun rights.
“As a female and a Realtor, thank you for allowing my right to bear arms. Allowing me to be protected if I show a home to someone with bad intentions,” she wrote in November 2016. "Thank you for respecting that Amendment."
While his mother may have conservative political views, there is no currently available evidence to suggest Mr Crumbley’s shooting was politically motivated or influenced by his mother's views. Prosecutors have argued that his parents lax control over their personal weapons directly contributed to Ethan's ability to carry out the attack.
Ms McDonald said the parents' actions went “far beyond negligence”.
“The parents were the only individuals in the position to know the access to weapons”, she said, noting that the gun "seems to have been just freely available to that individual”, referring to Ethan.
If convicted, the parents may face up to 15 years in prison. Their son, Ethan, had been charged as an adult with crimes including murder, attempted murder and terrorism. Three students remain hospitalised in stable condition.