The Michigan Court of Appeals disclosed new details about the deadly Oxford school shooting in Thursday's opinion that ordered the shooter's parents to stand trial for the deaths of four students.
In its 17-page opinion, which concluded that prosecutors presented enough evidence to try James and Jennifer Crumbley on involuntary manslaughter charges, the appeals court included new information about the gun that was used in the 2021 massacre, text messages between the shooter and his mom, and the actions of his dad on the day of the shooting.
A sticking point in the case has been whether Ethan Crumbley had easy access to the gun that was used in the shooting. Prosecutors argue he did, while his parents argue the gun - which they had bought him as an early Christmas present - was locked and secure.
Combination to Crumbleys' gun safe was '000'
According to the appeals court, here is what a detective found:
On the day of the shooting, police executed a search warrant at the Crumbleys' home. In the parents' bedroom, a detective found the gun case for the SIG Sauer that was used in the shooting. The safe was open on the bed next to an empty box of 9mm ammunition. The detective also found a locked gun safe in a dresser drawer of the Crumbleys' bedroom.
The safe had a three-digit combination lock, which was set as “000,” and contained James Crumbley’s other two guns. All of the gun locks found in the house were still in their original packaging. The detective did not find any broken locks or a lock with which someone had tampered.
Police also searched Ethan Crumbley's bedroom and found paper targets from a gun range tacked to the walls, fired shell casings, an array of folding knives, a notebook containing detailed drawings of guns and the feces of a small animal on top of a nightstand.
Dad does DoorDash minutes after school meeting
On the morning of the shooting, the Crumbleys were summoned to the school over a troubling drawing their son had made in math class. It had a gun, blood and the words, "The Thoughts Won't Stop. Help Me."
The parents asked whether their son could stay in school that day because they had to work. The counselor agreed and kept Ethan Crumbley in class.
Just four minutes after driving out of the school parking lot, James Crumbley logged onto DoorDash and accepted his first delivery job at 11 a.m.
Mom texts son 10 minutes before shooting
After leaving the school, Jennifer Crumbley went to work. At 12:21 p.m., Jennifer Crumbley texted her son at school to ask whether he was OK.
"(You) know you can talk to us and we won’t judge,” the mom texted.
Ethan Crumbley replied: “IK thank you. I’m sorry for that. I love you.”
Almost 10 minutes after sending that message, Ethan Crumbley went into a bathroom with his backpack, came out with the gun his parents had bought him and opened fire.
By 12:58 p.m. that day, the shooting was over.
Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty to all charges last year and awaits sentencing. He faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole, though his lawyers are challenging that sentence, given his age. He was 15 at the time of the shooting.
Contact Tresa Baldas: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Oxford school shooter Ethan Crumbley texted mom minutes before attack