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Michigan shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley’s parents plead not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges

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The parents of Michigan school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley each pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges Saturday morning after being taken into custody in Saturday’s predawn hours.

James and Jennifer Crumbley were apprehended after an extensive manhunt for the couple, who had failed to appear for their arraignment Friday. The couple each face four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection to Tuesday’s tragedy at Oxford High School for refusing to take their son out of school after staff said he exhibited warning signs of violence and needed counseling, according to authorities. 

Ethan Crumbley, 15, was arrested after he allegedly opened fire at the school, killing four students and wounding seven other people.

James Crumbley, top left, and Jennifer Crumbley, top middle, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges after being booked into Oakland County Jail Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021.

James Crumbley, top left, and Jennifer Crumbley, top middle, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges after being booked into Oakland County Jail Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. (Oakland County District Court)

Following an hours-long search in Michigan on Friday that included U.S. Marshals’ offers of $10,000 rewards each for their capture, law enforcement officers found the parents in Detroit, where they were reportedly hiding in an art studio after leaving their car in the building’s parking lot. 

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A business owner called 911 after seeing the suspects’ car and noticing a woman running away from it. Images of the car and the couple had been posted in the media.

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The couple was unarmed and taken into custody without incident, Detroit police Chief James White told reporters in an overnight news conference. He said they appeared “distressed” during their arrest. They are likely to face additional charges.

  • prevnextImage 2 of 8James Crumbley was booked into Oakland County Jail in Michigan early Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. Crumbley, father of Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, is charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.  (Oakland County Jail)

A third person who may have assisted the couple by letting them inside the Detroit building where they were found is also being scrutinized by investigators and may face charges, White said. The Crumbleys didn’t break into the building, they were let inside by that person, the chief told reporters.

Investigators don’t know the relationship between the Crumbleys and the other person. 

White praised his fellow law enforcement officers, and the tipster, after the arrests.

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“I could not be prouder,” White said. “Tonight, again, our community came through for us.”

The couple’s lawyers had said earlier Friday the parents left the area for their safety after the shooting but planned to return for their arraignment. 

Ethan Crumbley, 15, allegedly shot and killed four students and injured seven others at Oxford High School. His mother allegedly texted him, "Ethan don’t do it" during the shooting, prosecutors said. 

Ethan Crumbley, 15, allegedly shot and killed four students and injured seven others at Oxford High School. His mother allegedly texted him, “Ethan don’t do it” during the shooting, prosecutors said.  (Oakland County Sheriff’s Office)

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“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,” attorneys Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman previously told Fox News.

“This isn’t indicative of turning yourself in, hiding in a warehouse,” White told reporters early Saturday. 

“We’re tired of this,” he added of school and other mass shootings, telling reporters the manhunt should take “as much manpower as it takes” to give the families of the victims “the closure that they need.”

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Custody of the couple has been transferred to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. 

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