A tip led Detroit police to suspect’s parents, chief says

James and Jennifer Crumbley entered not guilty pleas to all charges against them during their arraignment Saturday morning.

The couple “fully intended” to turn themselves in “first thing this morning for arraignment,” attorneys representing them said in a statement Saturday morning ahead of their arraignment.

[Original story, published at 9:39 a.m. ET]

James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, were found on the first floor of an industrial or commercial building after someone tipped police Friday night that their vehicle was nearby, police officials said.

“They appeared to be hiding in the building,” some 40 miles south of the Oxford area where they live, Detroit Police Chief James White said during a news conference early Saturday. They were “very distressed” after they were detained, the chief said.

The Crumbleys were charged Friday with four counts of involuntary manslaughter over the shooting their 15-year-old son, Ethan, is accused of carrying out on Tuesday, when four students were killed and seven other people were wounded at Oxford High School.

Law enforcement considered the couple fugitives after they missed their arraignment that was scheduled for Friday afternoon. They have been taken to the Oakland County Jail, where their son is also held, and are expected to be arraigned later Saturday morning.

CNN has reached out to the couple’s attorney, Shannon Smith, who had earlier stated that the Crumbleys had left town for their own safety and intended to turn themselves in voluntarily.

But White pointed out that there was no sign the Crumbleys wanted to be found. He added someone let the couple into the building, and that person could face charges.

“This isn’t indicative of turning themselves in, hiding in a warehouse,” the police chief said.

The arrests came roughly a half day after a prosecutor announced the couple were being charged in connection with the shooting for numerous reasons — including allegations that they recently bought the gun for their son, and did not remove him from school despite being told hours before the killings of a concerning drawing the teen was accused of making.
Their son, Ethan Crumbley, was charged Wednesday as an adult with terrorism, murder and other counts in the shooting rampage at Oxford.

The shooting — the deadliest at a US K-12 campus since 2018 and the 32nd such attack since August 1 — claimed the lives of Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; and Justin Shilling, 17.

Couple withdrew $4,000 from an ATM on Friday, official told CNN

The US Marshals Service was helping local authorities search for the couple Friday, and had offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information that could lead to their arrest.

Ultimately, Detroit police made the arrest after a local business owner saw a woman standing near “the suspect vehicle” in his parking lot and called 911, according to a statement to CNN from Undersheriff Michael McCabe with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.

“After an extensive search by DPD including Detroit K-9 units both of the fugitives were located and arrested by DPD,” McCabe said.

Prosecutors had worried about the couple escaping because they didn’t have ties to their community, and officials had trouble locating the Crumbleys once their son was being arraigned, a law enforcement source told CNN on Friday.

The parents also withdrew $4,000 from an ATM in Rochester Hills, Michigan, on Friday, a law enforcement official told CNN. Rochester Hills is about 10 to 15 miles from Oxford.

Law enforcement were tracking the couple’s whereabouts by cell phone pings but that signal had dropped because the couple’s cell phones were turned off, the official said

Prosecutors reveal more on parents role before shooting

The arrests come after officials revealed more information Friday regarding the circumstances leading up to the deadly shooting.

On November 26, James Crumbley bought the gun authorities believe was used in the shooting at an Oxford, Michigan, store with his son, according to Karen McDonald, the prosecutor who is leading the case.

Shortly after, his son posted a picture of a gun on an Instagram account and captioned it, “Just got my new beauty today. SIG SAUER 9mm” with a heart-eyes emoji, McDonald said.

Jennifer Crumbley also posted about the gun on social media, calling it “his new Christmas present,” McDonald continued. And his mother also took him to a shooting range the weekend before the shooting at the school, according to a law enforcement.

On Monday — the day before the shooting- – a teacher saw Ethan Crumbley searching ammunition on his phone and reported it to school officials, the prosecutor said.

Jennifer Crumbley did not respond to school officials when they called her about that conduct — but later that day sent a text message to her son saying, “LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,” McDonald said.

Then on Tuesday — the day of the shooting — a different teacher became alarmed after the alleged shooter had a drawing that showed a semiautomatic handgun pointing at the words, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me,” McDonald said.

Another section displayed a drawing of a bullet with the words “Blood Everywhere” written above it. Between the drawing of the gun and the bullet is one of a person who seems to have been shot twice and is bleeding, McDonald said.

“Below that figure is a drawing of a laughing emoji,” McDonald said.

Also found on the note, according to McDonald: “My life is useless” and “The world is dead.”

The parents were called for a meeting in the school with a counselor and their son, who had altered the illustration by scratching out the drawings of the gun and bloody figure, along with the words, according to McDonald.

The parents refused to take their son out of the school, and he was allowed back to class.

Later that day, according to prosecutors, Crumbley opened fire outside a bathroom, aiming at students in the hallway as well as those who were hiding in classrooms.

CNN’s Jason Hanna, Andy Rose, Melanie Schuman, Mark Morales, Sonia Moghe, Artemis Moshtaghian, Sahar Akbarzai, Taylor Romine and Kristina Sgueglia contributed to this report.

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