MSU parents didn't know their kids were dead for 6 hours. Some demand more urgency

Oxford superintendent: No prior discipline warranted for shooting suspect

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Two days after the shooting rampage at Oxford High School, the district's superintendent maintained no discipline was in order leading up to the attack for a sophomore now accused of killing four schoolmates and wounding seven others. 

Tim Throne addressed the circumstances in a YouTube video posted Thursday evening, noting there's been a lot of talk about the 15-year-old suspect, Ethan Crumbley, who'd been called up to the office along with his parents just prior to the shooting.

"No discipline was warranted," Throne said near the end of the nearly 13-minute video. "There are no discipline records at the high school. Yes, this student did have contact with our front office, and yes, his parents were on campus Nov. 30. I will take any and all questions at a later time. But that’s not now."

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said early Thursday that she expected to announce a charging decision related to Crumbley's parents within 24 hours. The prosecutor, in an evening interview with WDIV-TV (Channel 4), said she plans to provide information Friday morning "that will disclose that it (the shooting) probably could have been prevented," adding "that is unconscionable."

McDonald announced her decision Wednesday to charge Crumbley as an adult, noting there's "a mountain of digital evidence," including social media and videotape, and her office is confident that the shootings were "absolutely premeditated."

Throne, in the video filmed in the performing arts center lobby of the high school, said Thursday evening that he remained “in shock and numb” over the tragedy.

“We have parents who sent their kids to school two days ago, and they're never coming home,” he said.

But added: “These events that have occurred will not define us.”

Throne went on to say the Oakland County high school likely will remain closed for weeks. "This high school is like a wreck right now. Maybe the best way to describe it is it's like a war zone," he said.

He said he was unsure when the site would exactly reopen but had spoken with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who "told me that she will do everything in her power to open up the supply chains to get us the resources we need to begin to put this building back in order."

Throne added the process of returning students and returning items left behind during the attack on Tuesday would probably begin after the upcoming funerals for the students.

"Once we have a better idea of how long that's going to take to process that stuff, contact families, get it back to you, we’ll communicate that plan as quickly as possible and let you know what that's going to look like," Throne said. "But I think it's probably pretty safe to say don't plan on that in the next couple of days. It's going to take us a little bit yet to work through all of that."

The superintendent's remarks were his longest in public in the two days after the rampage at the school.

Prosecutors allege Crumbley emerged just before 1 p.m. Tuesday from a school bathroom armed then "methodically and deliberately" walked down a hallway before he began shooting others at close range.

Four students died: Hana St. Juliana, 14, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Tate Myre, 16, and Justin Shilling. Six other students and a teacher were wounded.

Crumbley, who had been allegedly carrying a gun his father purchased on Black Friday, was charged Wednesday as an adult on 24 counts including first-degree murder and terrorism. He's being held at the Oakland County Jail without bond. 

Throne praised the actions of staffers during Tuesday's ordeal and said that he wants the Oakland County Sheriff's Office to release whatever video it is comfortable with. 

A day before the shooting, school officials spoke with Crumbley, over "concerning" classroom behavior, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said earlier this week. 

Crumbley allegedly recorded videos on his cellphone the night before the shootings and wrote in a journal recovered in his backpack of plans to shoot and kill students, authorities said Wednesday. 

Michigan provides criminal liability for a parent of any child younger than 18 whose child violates a state firearm-related law while on school property or in a school vehicle, if the parent had custody of the child and knew the child would commit the violation or acted to further the violation, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Bouchard noted at least 60 Michigan schools have closed amid copycat threats circulating following the Oxford High School shooting and vowed to those making false claims "we will find you."