Dramatic moment Oxford school shooter Ethan Crumbley’s mom was arrested is seen for first time at her manslaughter trial

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Ethan Crumbley, 17, shot and killed four of his Michigan high school classmates on November 30, 2021 
  • The teenager’s parents have now been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each the first case of its kind in the US 
  • After the charges were filed against Jennifer and James Crumbley the pair went missing and images of their arrest were displayed in court this week 

The shocking moment the parents of Oxford school shooter Ethan Crumbley were arrested after going on the run was caught on police bodycam footage.

Ethan Crumbley, 17, shot and killed four of his Michigan high school classmates on November 30, 2021. 

His parents Jennifer and James Crumbley have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each in the deaths of four of the shooting victims while Ethan has been sentenced to life in prison.

After the charges against them were announced – the couple went missing, but their lawyers insisted they were not on the run.

‘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,’ the attorneys said.

The shocking moment the parents of Oxford school shooter Ethan Crumbley were arrested after going on the run was caught on police bodycam footage

Police discovered the couple on April 12 2021, and images from the arrest were shown at Jennifer's trial this week

Police discovered the couple on April 12 2021, and images from the arrest were shown at Jennifer’s trial this week

Jennifer (pictured) and James Crumbley have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each

Jennifer (pictured) and James Crumbley have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each

However, it was revealed on day two of the trial that Jennifer had sent a text to her boss a day before the involuntary manslaughter charges were announced saying ‘We’re on the run again. Helicopters. Not sure where to. I’ll message you.’

Police discovered the couple on April 12 2021, and images from the arrest were shown at Jennifer’s trial this week. 

The image shows the mother lying face down on the floor as armed police surround her body. 

The trial is the first of its kind in the US, where parents of a school shooter are being charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Nick Ejak, who was in charge of discipline at Oxford High School, told the jury earlier this week he found it ‘odd’ and ‘strange’ that the couple declined to immediately take their son home after they were called to the school to discuss a disturbing drawing he had made.

The drawing showed a gun, a bullet and was detailed with phrases such as ‘blood everywhere’, ‘the thoughts won’t stop help me,’ and ‘my life is useless.’

Jennifer told police in an interview how she had texted with her son just minutes before the shooting, saying she had asked if he was OK at 12.21pm and he replied saying he had just gotten back from lunch.

She said she told him he could talk to his parents and they wouldn’t judge him, and he replied ‘I know, I love you.’

Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty to his crimes and is currently serving life in jail

Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty to his crimes and is currently serving life in jail

James Robert Crumbley was also charged over the shooting.

Jennifer Lynn Crumbley's mugshot. She and her husband have both been in jail for two years awaiting trial

Crumbley’s parents, James and Jennifer  have both been charged in connection with the shooting

A photograph of Ethan Crumbley's cell phone, taken shortly after he shot and killed four of his classmates at Oxford High School in November 2021

A photograph of Ethan Crumbley’s cell phone, taken shortly after he shot and killed four of his classmates at Oxford High School in November 2021

Jennifer and James Crumbley confronted Ethan in a police station just hours after the shooting, with the mom asking her son 'Why?', while James repeated 'I love you'

Jennifer and James Crumbley confronted Ethan in a police station just hours after the shooting, with the mom asking her son ‘Why?’, while James repeated ‘I love you’

Jurors at the involuntary manslaughter trial of Jennifer Crumbley were shown disturbing drawings by mass shooter son Ethan hours before he opened fire at Oxford High school, killing four

Jurors at the involuntary manslaughter trial of Jennifer Crumbley were shown disturbing drawings by mass shooter son Ethan hours before he opened fire at Oxford High school, killing four

Ethan texted his mother about his paranoia and fears that someone was in their home, but she didn't reply

Ethan texted his mother about his paranoia and fears that someone was in their home, but she didn’t reply

Ten minutes later he fired his first shot and went on to kill four students, Hana St. Juliana, 14, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Tate Myre, 16, and Justin Shilling, 17, and injure seven others over the next nine minutes before he was detained by police.

The newly released police station interview, conducted just hours after the shooting, shows the parents telling police: ‘I really wish we would have taken him home.’

Jennifer and her husband are accused of contributing to the deaths at Oxford High School by neglecting their son’s needs and making a gun accessible at home.

It is the first time parents have ever been charged in a US mass school shooting.

Part of the case against the couple is that they bought Ethan a new gun just days before the shooting.

But they insisted target practice is a family hobby, and James told the investigator that he took his son to the shooting range ‘all the time’ and added ‘I’ve been trying to teach him safely.’

The pair later asked for a lawyer again saying: ‘we would like a lawyer present from here on out’ and Jennifer, who could be seen on her phone throughout the interview, said she was messaging someone to find an attorney.

After the charges against them were announced – the couple went missing, but their lawyers insisted they were not on the run.

Then school dean Nicholas Ejak was questioned over why Crumbley's bag wasn't searched at a meeting on the day of the shooting

Then school dean Nicholas Ejak was questioned over why Crumbley’s bag wasn’t searched at a meeting on the day of the shooting

By the day of the shooting, four different employees had reported alarming behavior from Ethan Crawley

By the day of the shooting, four different employees had reported alarming behavior from Ethan Crawley

Police say Crumbley's first victim was freshman Phoebe Arthur (pictured), who was shot in the face but miraculously survived. A total of 13 people were shot, four of whom died

Police say Crumbley’s first victim was freshman Phoebe Arthur (pictured), who was shot in the face but miraculously survived. A total of 13 people were shot, four of whom died

Madisyn Baldwin, 17

Hana St Juliana, 14

Madisyn Baldwin, 17, (left) and Hana St Juliana, 14, (right) died in the 2021 shooting rampage at Oxford High School in suburban Detroit 

Justin Shilling died in the hospital

Tate Myre died at the school

Justin Shilling, 17, (left) and Tate Myre, 16, (right) were also killed in the senseless shooting 

‘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,’ the attorneys said.

However, it was revealed on day two of the trial that Jennifer had sent a text to her boss a day before the involuntary manslaughter charges were announced saying ‘We’re on the run again. Helicopters. Not sure where to. I’ll message you.’

Other new evidence has been unearthed in court this week and presented in the case against Ethan’s parents.

Evidence shows Jennifer and her husband James were riding horses and didn’t respond when Ethan sent her text messages on March 17, 2021 saying their house was haunted.

She had told her husband earlier that day that she wanted to ‘get drunk and ride my horse,’ according to a message displayed to the jury.

Ethan said he was scared because ‘demons’ were ‘throwing bowls.’

‘Can you text back?’ he asked his mother.

School officials later said that Crumbley talked his way out of trouble by claiming the drawings were part of plans to create a video game.

Oxford High School educator Molly Darnell shows the jury her gun shot wound as she is questioned by Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald

Oxford High School educator Molly Darnell shows the jury her gun shot wound as she is questioned by Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald

ATF Special Agent Brett Brandon holds up and identifies the SIG Sauer murder weapon used by Ethan Crumbley in the Oxford High School shootings

ATF Special Agent Brett Brandon holds up and identifies the SIG Sauer murder weapon used by Ethan Crumbley in the Oxford High School shootings

Jennifer was shown the depraved etchings at a meeting with school staff but allowed her son to remain in school

Jennifer was shown the depraved etchings at a meeting with school staff but allowed her son to remain in school

Jennifer became emotional after seeing video of her son walking through Oxford High School during the Nov. 30, 2021 shooting rampage in the courtroom of Oakland County Judge Cheryl Matthews

Jennifer became emotional after seeing video of her son walking through Oxford High School during the Nov. 30, 2021 shooting rampage in the courtroom of Oakland County Judge Cheryl Matthews

On Tuesday, then-school dean Nicholas Ejak was questioned over why Crumbley wasn’t removed from the school and why his bag wasn’t searched after the meeting.

He said: ‘It wasn’t necessary… that I do that because I didn’t have any reasonable suspicion to do that.’

By the day of the shooting, at least four employees had raised concerns about Ethan’s behavior.

As well as the drawings, a teacher had told management they had seen him researching bullets and another teacher spotted him watching a video of a person gunning people down.

In one email to Ejak, a teacher wrote that he ‘was on his phone looking at different bullets’.

She added: ‘Now that he’s on my radar, I’m also noticing that some of his previous work that he’s completed from earlier in the year leans a bit toward the violent side.’

Despite the reports, Ethan was allowed to return to class after the meeting with his parents, and he later emerged from a bathroom with a pistol and began firing on fellow students.

Police said Crumbley’s first victim was freshman Phoebe Arthur, who was shot in the face but miraculously survived. A total of 13 people were shot, four of whom died.

He walked up and down hallways firing off shots until police arrived and took him into custody.

Both of his parents have been in jail for more than two years awaiting trial, unable to afford a $500,000 bond. James Crumbley is due to stand trial in March.

Ethan, who is now 17, was sentenced to life in prison in December after he pleaded guilty to murder, terrorism and other crimes. Ethan was 15 at the time of the shooting.

Smith told jurors Thursday that the mother was ‘hypervigilant’ about her son and shouldn’t be blamed for the deaths. Jennifer is expected to testify in the days ahead.

Smith wants to challenge some evidence by having Ethan or his doctors speak to the jury. But his lawyers have said he would invoke his right to remain silent and also would not waive a right to privacy with psychiatrists.

It also emerged that in April 2021, seven months before the school attack, Ethan Crumbley told a friend that he was ‘mentally and physically dying.’

He said he asked his father to take him to a doctor but was told to ‘suck it up.’

The main issue at stake is the disturbing homework shown to his parents just hours before he carried out his murderous rampage.

On the morning of the shooting, school counselor, Scott Hopkins, called Ethan’s parents in to discuss drawings Ethan had made of a gun with the words ‘the world is dead’.

Ethan had also scrawled the words ‘blood everywhere’, ‘my life is useless’ and ‘the thoughts wont stop, help me’ over the book.

His parents discussed the drawings with Hopkins, and decided he could go back to class.

Hopkins said on Monday: ‘If I believed he (the shooter) was a threat to people, I would’ve taken different actions.’

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