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Fugitive Parents Of School Shooting Suspect Withdrew Money, Hid In Warehouse Before Capture

Detroit, MI – The parents of the alleged Oxford High School shooter withdrew $4,000 from an ATM before going into hiding inside a Detroit warehouse Friday.

Four teens were killed and a teacher and six other students were wounded when a 15-year-old sophomore opened fire in the hallways of the school on Nov. 30.

The alleged killer’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each on Dec. 3 and a judge issued warrants for their arrests, WDIV reported.

Their attorney said the couple planned to turn themselves in, but they failed to do so and skipped out on an arraignment hearing scheduled for Friday afternoon, according to CNN.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office’s (OCSO) fugitive team all deployed to locate the Crumbleys, WXMI reported.

“The action of fleeing and ignoring their attorney certainly adds weight to the charges,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said Friday. “They cannot run from their part in this tragedy.”

The couple’s lawyer had released a statement Friday saying he spoke with the Oakland County prosecutor’s office about the anticipated charges Thursday night, WXYZ reported.

The attorney told the prosecutor’s office that the Crumbleys had left the area the night of the school shooting “for their own safety” and that they were returning to Oxford to turn themselves in for their arraignment.

“They are not fleeing from law enforcement despite recent comments in media reports,” the lawyer claimed.

The USMS soon issued a $10,000 reward for information leading to the Crumbleys arrests, CNN reported.

The couple allegedly traveled to Rochester Hills, located about 15 miles from Oxford, and withdrew $4,000 from an ATM Friday, according to a law enforcement official.

Police tried to track them using their cell phones, but that lead ended when the Crumbleys shut their devices down, CNN reported.

The couple ultimately ended up at the downtown Detroit studio of 65-year-old artist Andrzej Sikora, who they had a “friendly relationship with,” Sikora’s attorney, Clarence Dass, told the Associated Press.

Dass said Sikora had no idea the Crumbleys were wanted and that he didn’t know they remained inside his studio after he closed up for the day.

“There was a lot of confusion and the Crumbleys went to him for safety. He didn’t know about the charges,” Dass told the Associated Press. “They were there in the daytime. He left in the early evening. He didn’t even know they were still there.”

Sikora, who was born in Poland and has been living in Oakland County for years, will be interviewed by investigators Monday afternoon, Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe confirmed.

It is unclear whether or not he will face charges.

Police honed in on the Crumbleys’ location after a Detroit business owner called 911 to report having seen a woman standing near “the suspect vehicle” in the parking lot of his business Friday night, Undersheriff McCabe said.

Investigators found the couple hiding on the first floor of the building where Sikora’s studio is located early Saturday morning and took them into custody, the Associated Press reported.

“They appeared to be hiding in the building,” Detroit Police Chief James White told reporters after their arrests. “This isn’t indicative of turning themselves in…hiding in a warehouse.”

He said they were both “very distressed” after they were caught.

They were booked into the Oakland County Jail facility in Pontiac, where their son is also being held, WHDH reported.

As a matter of policy, The Police Tribune no longer publishes the names or photos of school shooters so as not to contribute to fame-motivated attacks.

The alleged gunman, who is being charged as an adult, faces four counts of first-degree murder, one count of terrorism causing death, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, FOX News reported.

The Crumbleys are all in separate locations inside the facility and are being checked “multiple times an hour” under the facility’s suicide watch monitoring protocols, according to WHDH.

Sheriff Bouchard said Saturday the alleged gunman is in isolation and that he does not believe he has been told about his parents being charged.

James and Jennifer Crumbley pleaded not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charges against them on Saturday, CNN reported.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald pushed for them to be held on $500,000 bond apiece, especially considering the ATM withdrawal and their “attempts to hide their location,” according to the news outlet.

“These are not people that we could be assured will return to court on their own,” McDonald added.

Shannon Smith, one of the Crumbleys’ attorneys, denied allegations the couple was trying to evade arrest.

“They were scared; they were terrified; they were not at home; they were figuring out what to do, getting finances in order,” Smith said Saturday, according to CNN. “We were going to make arrangements to have our clients turn themselves in… We did not announce it, because unlike the prosecution, we weren’t attempting to make this a media spectacle.”

Smith also denied prosecutors’ allegations that the couple gave their son access to the gun used during the mass shooting, CNN reported.

“The gun was actually locked,” the defense attorney said. “When the prosecution is stating that this child had free access to a gun, that is just absolutely not true…This court is going to see … there is far more going on than what this court has been made aware of.”

As new details are released in court, the chain of events preceding the school shooting have become clearer.

According to OCSO Lieutenant Tim Willis, the school called Jennifer Crumbley on Nov. 29 after a teacher notified school administrators she saw the teen looking up ammunition during class, WDIV reported.

“Jennifer Crumbley exchanged text messages about the incident with her son, where she stated, ‘LOL I’m not mad. You have to learn not to get caught,’” Lt. Crumbley said during the court proceedings.

Approximately 10 a.m. the next day, just three hours before the deadly rampage, Jennifer and James Crumbley were called to the school to meet with administrators about a drawing and notations a teacher saw on the 15-year-old boy’s desk, DWIV reported.

The teacher was so alarmed by the drawing, she snapped a picture of it with her phone, Lt. Willis said.

“The note contained the following: a drawing of a semi-automatic handgun pointed at the words, ‘The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.’ In another section of the note was a drawing of a bullet with the following words above that bullet: ‘Blood everywhere.’ Between the drawing of the gun and the bullet is the drawing of a person who appears to have been shot twice and bleeding. Below that figure is the drawing of a laughing emoji. Further down the drawing are the words, ‘My life is useless,’ and to the right of those words are, ‘The world is dead,’” the lieutenant told the court.

The teen told a school guidance counselor the drawing and statements were for a video game he was designing, according to the Associated Press.

School officials told the couple to get their son into counseling within 48 hours, WDIV reported.

The Crumbleys opted to leave the teen in school at that time.

Just three hours later, he opened fire on his fellow students using a 9mm Sig Sauer handgun his father bought for him on Nov. 26 for a Christmas gift, according to police.

As news of the mass shooting spread, Jennifer Crumbley sent a text to her son at 1:22 p.m., telling him, “don’t do it,” Lt. Willis said.

James Crumbley called 911 15 minutes later and reported a gun was missing from his home, WDIV reported.

He said he believed his son could be the gunman at Oxford High School.

“Further investigation revealed that the Sig Sauer 9 mm handgun purchased by James Crumbley was stored, unlocked in a drawer in James and Jennifer’s bedroom,” Lt. Willis said, according to WDIV. “The gun recovered from [the suspect] after the shooting was the same gun that was purchased by James Crumbley on 11/26/21 in the presence of [the suspect].”

Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Keast told the court he couldn’t find “the words to describe how horrific” the surveillance footage of the mass shooting is.

The gunman shot his fellow students at close range, hitting them in their necks, shoulders, and faces, the Daily Mail reported.

“He methodically and deliberately walked down a hallway, aimed the firearm at students and fired it,” Keast said, according to FOX News. “After children started running away from the defendant, he continued down the hallway, again at a deliberate and methodical pace, pointing and aiming inside classrooms and at students who hadn’t had the opportunity to escape.”

Sheriff Bouchard said witnesses told investigators they saw the shooter tugging on doors while shooting people, The Daily Beast reported.

“We know from visible evidence he shot through doors,” Sheriff Bouchard added.

Three students died from their wounds shortly after the attack.

They have been identified as 16-year-old Tate Myre, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana.

A fourth victim, 17-year-old Justin Schilling, died at a hospital the following morning.

A 47-year-old teacher, a 17-year-old boy, and a 15-year-old boy have all been released from the hospital, FOX News reported.

Four other victims remained hospitalized.

McDonald said investigators have uncovered “a mountain of digital evidence” indicating the attack was “not just an impulsive act,” but had been planned out well in advance.

According to investigators, the suspect recorded a video discussing his plot the night before the mass shooting, the Daily Mail reported.

The footage was not posted online, Sheriff Bouchard said.

The suspect also allegedly had a journal in his backpack containing statements about shooting and killing other students, NBC News reported.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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