Oxford Michigan School Shooting – A Tragedy Of 11 Souls With Thousands Others

10 mins read
Pointing a gun as it happened in the Oxford Michigan school shooting.
By: Maxim Hopman on Unsplash, Copyright 2020



Tim Throne, the superintendent of the Oxford Community Schools revealed the renewed security measures in a video on the reopening of schools at the start of January after the ‘threat’ that surfaced at the Oxford High School last year. Throne assured that police are doing their best to get to the bottom of that situation and a third-party investigation will follow.

Following are the safety checks that are going to follow as the schools restart, as per Throne-

  • Clear backpacks for the middle school, bridges, and high school students.
  • Private security
  • School counselors and trauma specialists.
  • Therapy dogs

All of these precautions are the result of the traumatic event that occurred last year when a fellow student was arrested for allegedly opening fire on students in the Oxford High School.

The mass shooting at Oxford High School by the suspect Ethan Crumbley allegedly killed four high school students and injured seven others, including a teacher.

1. What is called Mass Shooting?

A brown wooden surface with holes.
By: cottonbro on Pexels Copyright 2020

The definition of mass shooting differs for different counts. According to Everytown’s definition,  “any incident in which four or more people are shot and killed, excluding the shooter”, is a mass shooting.

1.1. How many Mass Shootings?

Using this definition, the United States, on average, has a record of 19 mass shootings every year and shooters displayed warning signs such as threats ahead of committing violence in 56 percent of the cases, as stated in Everytown’s analysis from 2009 to 2020.

2. Was the Oxford Michigan School Shooting Planned?

The accused shooter, now in Oakland County Jail, reportedly showed alarming signs before the shooting which has been seen as gross negligence on the part of James and Jennifer Crumbley – his parents and school officials when they allegedly didn’t take action and let Crumbley go to the classroom on detecting his violent sketches by a teacher.

A suit filed by Michigan firm Fieger Law against the school officials revealed the following alleged signs the accused showed before the school shooting –

  • Terrorizing drawings of a gun and gunman.
  • The barbaric act of putting a bird’s head in a jar.
  • Searching for ammunition online in the classroom.
  • Showing bullets in the classroom.
  • A deer’s head was found in the courtyard several weeks before the shooting.
  • Texting mom about ghosts in the home.
  • Social media threats about shooting the school such as, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. See you tomorrow Oxford’.
  • The proud display of his new gun on Instagram.

The stated earlier indications make the shooting a calculated act.

3. What happened on November 30 – A Brief Timeline of the Oxford Michigan School Shooting

A police car on the road at night.
By: Kenny Eliason on Unsplash Copyright 2020

Following are the events that summarize the Oxford High School shooting attack according to a news report:

  • November 26 – James Crumbley bought a semi-automatic gun for his teenage son four days prior to the shooting, which he boasted on Instagram calling it his ‘new beauty’, police disclosed.
  • November 29 – A day before the shooting, school staff reported Crumbley’s research of guns on the cell phone to school officials who then tried to contact his parents, police reported.
  • November 30 – A concerning drawing is found on Crumbley’s desk and reported to the school administrators a few hours before the shooting. A meeting with his parents is held at 10 a.m., County Sheriff Bouchard confirmed.
  • Around 12:50 p.m. – Ethan Crumbley emerged from a bathroom indiscriminately firing students with the gun his father gifted him, police said.
  • At 12:52 p.m. – More than hundreds of calls were made to the Oakland County Sheriff’s office.
  • Around 12:57 p.m. – The accused got arrested by the police within 5 minutes of the first call made, Undersheriff Mike McCabe disclosed.
  • At 1:37 p.m. – James Crumbley called 911 to inform them about the missing gun, according to the police.
  • 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. – Before the first meeting, Crumbley hired an attorney and remained silent, McCabe declared.
  • 3 p.m. – Names of the victims with those who had been shot dead were revealed by McCabe.
  • 3 p.m. – 5 p.m – To investigate Crumbleys’ house, a search warrant was released.
  • December 1, 12:30 p.m – The fourth student of the shooting died in a hospital, officials declared.
  • 2 p.m. – Crumbley was charged with 24 counts for the deadly school shooting, an Oakland County prosecutor announced.
  • 4 p.m. – James and Jennifer Crumbley and their son appeared for the trial through video conferencing.
  • 4:30 p.m. – An Oakland County judge decided to transfer the accused to the Oakland County Jail.
  • December 3 – Involuntary manslaughter charges were filed against Crumbley’s parents by the prosecution and they were under custody by the next morning.

The violence caused by the accused questions the American culture of guns.

4. The Impact of Guns on America

Statistics showed the prevalence of gun culture in the U.S. as 42 percent of houses owned at least one gun in 2021.

As per the analysis of Pew Research Centre from different sources, the U.S. faced 45,222 gun deaths in 2020 of which 43 percent (19,384) were gun murders.

79% of murder cases (involving 19,384 people) used a gun in 2020.

Gun deaths in 2020 increased by 14 percent from 2019 and there was a 34 percent of rising in gun murders in 2020 than the last year.

2020 had the most gun deaths (13.6 per 100,000 people) after the last decade of the 20th century in the USA.

5. A Deadly Right to Bear Arms

A black semi-automatic pistol.
By: Dan Galvani Sommavilla on Pexels Copyright 2020

The second amendment of the Bill of Rights gave the individuals ‘the right to bear arms’ in 1791. But Warren Burger, a former Supreme Court Chief Justice of the U.S., presented its other side by claiming its purpose in that context when it was ratified, which was “to protect the security of the State” from the ”new National Government”.

Just as the State has the right to interfere with the purchase and regulation of vehicles in accidental cases, its intervention is beneficial in the case of firearms too, to regulate gun deaths, Burger argued.

A report revealed the views of the U.S. citizens on banning the possession of guns by a law from 1990 to 2021.

19 percent of Americans favored a law to ban privately held guns, whereas 80 percent didn’t, which decreased from 25 percent of people supporting the ban in 2020. The highest percentage (41%) of people supporting banning guns was recorded in 1990.

The support of guns led to several shootings which have their own history.

6. School Shootings Before the Oxford Michigan School Shooting

A data report listed the various school shootings till November 2021 which showed the Virginia Tech massacre, Virginia in 2007 was the most fatal with 33 fatalities and 23 injuries.

Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, Connecticut in 2012, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Florida in 2018 were the second and third most fatal with 27 and 17 fatalities respectively.

The report showing data on K-12 school shootings in the U.S. from 1970 to 2020 had California facing the highest number of shootings which were 180 by June 2020. Texas was in the second spot with 149 and Michigan was fifth with 76 shootings till June 2020.

Suggested Reading: The Best 10 Safest States In The USA

7. The Alleged Shooter in the Oxford Michigan School Shooting

Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old, was living a normal life, at least publicly before his parents were reportedly called to a guidance counselor’s office for their son’s odd behavior. They seemed to have no clue about it and didn’t act a few hours before the shooting when the school counselors reportedly presented his violent drawings and asked them to seek counseling.

7.1. Crumbley’s ‘New Beauty’ and the Resulted School Shooting

Ethan was carrying a gun in his backpack the same day when his parents were called for a school meeting, but reportedly, they didn’t open up on the semi-automatic gun his father bought him.

Taking 10,606 members of the American Trends Panel, a survey by the Pew Research Centre was conducted in June 2021 to find gun ownership in the U.S.

The survey’s findings stated that a total of 40 percent of adults reported possession of a gun in their homes of which 30 percent of them owned it personally and 11 percent had it in their homes.

But it’s nowhere mentioned that a minor can freely access the gun, thus charges of involuntary manslaughter were filed against James and Jennifer Crumbley for making the gun easily accessible to their child. It’s alleged that Crumbley used the same gun for the killing that he took from his parents’ bedroom.

Another survey on gun owners by Gallup in August 2019 asked the reasons for owning a gun through an open-ended question in which 63, 4, and only 2 percent of people stated personal safety, liking, and a hobby respectively as the reasons for owning a gun.

A letter, written by the school officials after the violence, claimed that Crumbley presented ‘shooting sports are a family hobby’ as the reason after being caught up searching for guns a day before the shooting in a meeting and reportedly said he was recently on a gun range with his mom.

He even posted a picture of the gun on his Instagram, as per reports.

7.2. Ethan Crumbley – A minor or an Adult?

Crumbley, the accused shooter, was reportedly 15 at the time of the crime but charged as an adult.

The average maximum age for handling cases under juvenile court is 17 and someone who ages out is considered an adult in the US. However, it can differ as per the different state jurisdictions. The Michigan law expanded it to 17 in 2019, according to NCSL.

Ethan Crumbley, being a minor at that time, was reportedly tried as an adult by the prosecution. Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said “This was not an impulsive act” as she claimed to have “a mountain of digital evidence” against him, BBC reported.

Crumbley, on being transferred from the juvenile detention center, was held in Oakland County Jail ‘without bond’ for the charges he had against himself are serious such as first-degree murder and terrorism, as per reports.

According to NCSL, states can transfer juvenile cases to adult courts and try them as adults in the following cases –

  • Some juvenile cases can be judicially passed on to adult courts.
  • The prosecution can choose to file in either of the courts for some juvenile offenses.
  • The seriousness of criminal cases can exclude them from juvenile courts.
  • If a juvenile is charged as an adult in the past, they’ll be tried as an adult only as per the state transfer laws.

7.3. Was Crumbley Mentally Ill When He Allegedly Planned the Oxford Michigan School Shooting?

The Washington Post reported that prosecutor Kelly Collins was against removing the alleged shooter from the adult jail when his attorney, Paulette Loftin argued that Crumbley is ‘extremely isolated’ which is not good for his mental health.

Another prosecutor, Markeisha Washington said that “he is fascinated with violence, weapons and seeing others suffer” and hasn’t shown any signs of repentance. The prosecution presented Crumbley’s alleged crime as a carefully planned attack.

While the attorneys of Crumbley are planning an insanity defense on Crumbley’s behalf who’s now in adult Jail stating that their client was mentally unsound before the school shooting which went unnoticed mainly by his parents.

On showing his drawings with words, “The thoughts won’t stop, help me” and a gun, they weren’t ready to counsel him, CNN reported.

8. Charges Against Crumbley’s Parents

The prosecution charged both James and Jennifer Crumbley with four counts of involuntary manslaughter because of the negligent behavior they showed toward their son which allegedly led to the massacre of four students in Oxford High School.

When the news of the Oxford High School shooting was out, both the parents allegedly fled to a hideout and escaped hearing, but got arrested on Saturday after hours of tracking.

Crumbley’s father is reported to have bought a 9mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 pistol as a Christmas present, which he allegedly used in the shooting, whereas Jennifer Crumbley overtly encouraged his wrongdoings. Both were alleged to overlook his mental issues, BBC detailed.

9. Handling of the Suspect After the Oxford High School Shooting

A brown wooden mallet.
By: Wesley Tingey on Unsplash Copyright 2019

When on November 30, Tuesday, Crumbley, reportedly surrendered himself to the police due to the alleged charges of shooting in the Oxford school of Michigan, he faced the following investigations, as per the news reports –

  • Presented in court while being in the juvenile detention center.
  • Used his right to remain silent and pleaded not guilty.
  • Was transferred to an adult jail in Oakland County without bond.
  • Opted for filing an insanity defense.

9.1. Charges Against the Shooter

Crumbley was charged with the following counts for reportedly inflicting atrocities on his fellows –

  • Four counts of first-degree murder
  • 12 counts of possession of a firearm
  • One count of terrorism causing death
  • And seven counts of assault with intent to murder

10. Victims of the Oxford Michigan School Shooting

The suspect of the Oxford High School shooting caused horror in the lives of many including those who’ve been killed when he started firing indiscriminately in the school. Prosecutor Karen McDonald charged Crumbley with one count of terrorism, among 24 counts, which was not so common.

However, McDonald in making the charge said that the other students and their families are also victims of the deadly slaughter who, however, got away from the physical injuries but suffered mentally and emotionally.

The violence in the Oxford school injured seven people, including a teacher causing the death of four students, as per the Post. Following is the brief description of the deceased souls –

10.1. Tate Myre,16

Myre was a great athlete and a member of the university football team. After his death on the same day of the school shooting, a petition signed by more than 3,00,000 people urged the officials to name the Oxford High’s Wildcat Stadium again after Myre showed his bravery to fight off the attack in an attempt to save students, as per authorities.

10.2. Madisyn Baldwin,17

Baldwin was an artist with a love to draw, write, and read and even secured scholarships for some colleges. Her grandmother described her as ‘kind and patient’.

10.3. Justin Shilling,17

Justin, apart from having excelled in academics, was a co-captain of the school’s bowling team. Family described him as hard-working, managing studies and multiple roles simultaneously. He died following the day of the shooting in a Michigan hospital.

10.4. Hana St. Juliana,14

Hana St. was the youngest of the four students who died in the school shooting and a player of volleyball and basketball. She was with her elder sister Reina in the school who escaped the attack. But the “heart and soul of the family” – the ‘mischievous’ Hana St. got killed in the November 30 shooting.

10.5. Other Victims

Other victims survived the attack but have been through the terror caused by the rampage. Among seven people who got injured in the Oxford school shooting, the family of a student named, Riley Franz, held the school authorities responsible.

They sued them for their disregard of the forthcoming fatality even after numerous signs of danger they’ve witnessed before and on the day of the violence.

11. What can be the Cause of the Oxford Michigan School Shooting?

A study shed light on the reasons for school shootings in which 87 and 86 percent of participants cited revenge and bullying as the most common causes. Easy gun access and mental health also contributed to them.

Though the motive of the accused in Michigan High School violence is unclear yet, his obsession with Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer, behavior as depressive, alone and unhappy, and seeking notoriety and thrill are the things that draw attention, prosecution detailed as per Detroit Free Press.

A behavioral expert called easy gun access ‘one of the key differences’ in the case. Also, he was never bullied, said Sheriff Bouchard as per Detroit Free Press.

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