The Student News Site of Granada High School

The Pomegranate

The Student News Site of Granada High School

The Pomegranate

The Student News Site of Granada High School

The Pomegranate

Grabbing Life by the Horns

Mother of Michigan School Shooter Found Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter

Mother of Michigan School Shooter Found Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter

In November 2021, Oxford High student Ethan Crumbley opened fire on his high school, killing four students and wounding seven others. In an unprecedented turn of events, in addition to the shooter being charged, the parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, are also being charged with involuntary manslaughter for not taking the warning signs seriously.

Before the shooting, there were multiple incidents that in the aftermath of the shooting, made it clear that Ethan Crumbley had been planning to commit acts of violence with his gun. Ethan’s dad still awaits trial but on February 6 Ethan’s mom was found guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter. This makes history as this is the first time that the parent of a school shooter has been convicted for what their child did. This could set a new precedent from now on that the parents of school shooters should take some responsibility for the actions of their child.

The events before the shooting are as follows: On November 26, four days before the shooting, James Crumbley buys a 9mm Sig Sauer gun as an early Christmas present for his son Ethan. The next day, three days before the shooting, Ethan and his mom Jennifer Crumbley go to a shooting range to try out the new gun and Mrs. Crumbley posts it on social media. On November 29, the day before the shooting, a teacher reported Ethan to the school administration for searching online for ammunition on his phone. The school administration calls his mom to inform her about it, but they say he isn’t in trouble. Later Mrs. Crumbley texts her son saying, “Lol. I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”

That night, Ethan records a video talking about his plan to kill students. On November 30, the day of the shooting, Ethan and his parents met with school personnel because a teacher found Ethan’s math paper with a drawing of a person getting shot with a gun along with a message saying “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.” This, in addition to searching for ammunition and watching shooting videos, worried the school. During the meeting his parents declined to take him home, citing that they had to get back to work. Ethan had the gun in his backpack during the meeting but it was never searched and he was sent back to class. Later that day he opened fire in the school, killing four students and injuring seven others.

Story continues below advertisement

Ethan got caught immediately and was charged with murder and terrorism the next day. Two days later his parents were charged with involuntary manslaughter but they were nowhere to be found. They got caught the next day hiding in an art studio with new phones and $6,000 in cash. According to them they were receiving threats on Facebook and didn’t feel safe, so they hid. They plead not guilty to all charges. While her husband awaits trial in March, Jennifer Crumbley went to trial in late January. Her defense was that her husband was responsible for the gun he bought his son as a gift and storing it was “his thing”.

She said that she “didn’t feel comfortable” storing the gun but she hid the bullets. She also testified that the school never told her about the fact that her son was struggling to pay attention in class. She said that her son was stressed about what he was going to do post-high school, but she never felt like he needed to see a mental health professional. 

The defense pinned the blame on the school for not informing his parents about their son’s mental health. Prosecutors argued that she knew about her son’s poor mental health and his access to a gun, making her responsible for the deaths. They used evidence from an incident 8 months before the shooting where Ethan texted his mom while he was home alone saying he was seeing demons and that “the house is haunted”. She didn’t respond and he texted “Can you at least text back?”. She called over an hour later in a phone call that lasted 19 seconds.

Mrs. Crumbley claimed her son thought their house was haunted and liked to mess with them. The defense also called to the stand a man who she’d been having an affair with for six months. He testified that on the day of the shooting, she told him she was worried “he was going to do something dumb” and in the aftermath said that she told him the school could’ve prevented this if they hadn’t sent him back to class. School officials said they offered the parents mental health services for Ethan but they said they had to get back to work. School officials also said that if Ethan’s parents had told them he had access to a gun during the meeting more action would’ve been taken that day. 

On February 6, Jennifer Crumbley was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, making this the first time that a parent of a school shooter has been found guilty for their child’s actions. As the community heals from this violent event this also sets a precedent for the parents of kids who commit these crimes. This means that in future cases of school shootings, the parents of the school shooters could face punishment as well. As gun control remains a hot-button issue in the country, the verdict opens up a new conversation about gun ownership and parent’s responsibility when it comes to their child having access to guns.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Nuha Maflahi, Reporter
Nuha Maflahi is a junior at Granada High School and has been writing for the Pomegranate since the 2022-2023 school year. She is in the Livermore colour guard and is the treasurer of the TUPE (Tobacco Use Prevention Education) club. She also loves theatre, books, and listening to music.

Comments (0)

All The Pomegranate Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *