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Prosecutor criticizes school over preparations for mass shooting

LANSING, Michigan – The prosecutor overseeing the case against the student accused in the deadly Michigan school shooting last week that took the rare step of indicting his parents left open the possibility Monday that officials of the school could also be charged, stating “in this case a lot could have been done differently.”

Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald said the findings of the investigation will determine whether school officials will be charged in Tuesday’s attack on Oxford High School.

But she noted that three hours before Ethan Crumbley allegedly opened fire, killing four classmates and injuring six others and a teacher, the 15-year-old was kicked out of class after a meeting between the counselors school and his parents about a drawing of a teacher. found on his desk which included a bullet and the words “blood everywhere”.

“In this case, a lot of things could have been done differently. I mean at that meeting he was allowed to go back to school, “she said Monday in an interview on ABC’s” Good Morning America. “

“We know he had this gun with him or somewhere he could have stored it at school. But he had it in school, there’s no doubt about it. And leave it to the parents to decide whether or not to come home … “she added, without finishing her sentence.

Oxford School District superintendent Tim Throne said Crumbley and his parents met with counselors on the day of the shooting. He said counselors found the teenager “calm” and did not think he would harm others.

Parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, were asked to bring their son home but “flatly refused,” Throne said.

Throne said a third party would investigate pre-shooting events at a school in Oxford Township, a community of about 23,000 people about 50 kilometers north of Detroit. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said his office could investigate and has not ruled out investigating even if the school district turns down his offer.

“We’re in a better position to do that than a private actor like a security firm or a law firm or anything of that nature,” she told The Associated Press on Monday. “When the institution serves as a client and hires a private agency, it often only serves to cover up mistakes that might have been made instead of really finding out the truth about what happened. “

Nessel said she was not looking to blame the school district. A review of the tragedy, she said, will show what happened, identify possible protocol violations and provide lessons so students are safe.

When asked if school staff could be charged, she replied, “I’m not going to rule anything out. But we go there in the hopes of finding out best practices, best policies, best procedures, and making recommendations to schools across the state, possibly to the Legislature for laws that should be implemented and for ensuring the safety of schoolchildren around the state. “

Ethan Crumbley was charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes in the attack. And McDonald has filed manslaughter charges against his parents, saying they did not intervene on the day of the tragedy despite being confronted with the cartoon and its disturbing message.

McDonald said Monday that Crumbley’s parents did not mention at the school meeting that Ethan had access to a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. Authorities say he used the gun to carry out the attack and that his father bought it for him at a local gun store on Black Friday as an early Christmas present. Although the gun was legally sold to James Crumbley, miners in Michigan cannot own guns outside of limited situations, such as when hunting with an adult.

“You can’t even at an airport mention anything that indicates, even from a distance, that there might be some kind of violence on an airplane. You will be immediately checked out. And yet we have a kid who… said some pretty disturbing things and he was allowed to go back to school, and neither parent mentioned that he had access to a gun, ”said McDonald.

McDonald said prosecutors had evidence to suggest the couple “bought this gun for their 15-year-old and bragged about it online – believing it was a joyous occasion as a gift.”

And she said the teenager had access to the gun “whether or not it was locked” at her family’s home.

The parents were taken into custody early Saturday after being caught hiding inside artist Andrzej Sikora’s Detroit studio. The artist’s attorney said on Sunday he was cooperating with investigators and was unaware the couple were facing charges or that they had spent the night in his studio while authorities searched for them.

Lawyers for the couple said they had no plans to flee.

In a message to students posted to the school district’s website on Monday, Oxford High School Principal Steve Wolf said formal classes are not expected to resume until at least January, after the winter break. Wolf also said staff spent the weekend sorting through backpacks and other items left at school and plan to schedule time to pick them up.

“We really miss you and look forward to seeing you soon,” he wrote. “This tragedy was extremely difficult to overcome, and seeing many of you at our various community events helped the healing process. Sharing stories, crying together, hugging and just being together has been healing and helping.


This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Tim Throne’s name, which was misspelled “Thorne” in one case.


Callahan reported from Indianapolis. Associated Press writer Kathleen Foody contributed from Chicago. For more on the AP’s coverage of the Michigan school shooting:

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