Teacher alarmed by Oxford High suspect's drawings ahead of shooting, warned school leaders

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Correction: A teacher at Oxford High School reported Ethan Crumbley was searching for ammunition on his phone on Nov. 29, according to court records. That information was incorrect in an earlier version of this story because of incorrect information provided to The Detroit News.

A teacher at Oxford High School was so disturbed by what she saw on Ethan Crumbley's desk the day the teen is accused of going on a killing spree in school, she took out her cell phone and snapped a photo as evidence to show school leaders.

According to authorities, on a piece of paper in front of Crumbley, the teacher saw the words: "the thoughts won't stop, help me" and a drawing of a bullet and the phrase: "blood everywhere."

There was a sketch of a person shot twice and bleeding, a laughing emoji and the final lines: “my life is useless” and “the world is dead.”

Details of what happened at Oxford High School the day of the mass shooting in which four students were killed and seven others injured, including a teacher, were revealed on Friday by Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald who announced involuntary manslaughter charges against Crumbley's parents.

More:How Oxford suspect's parents eluded authorities

Ethan Crumbley, 15, appears via video feed from Children's Village in Pontiac during his virtual arraignment on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. He is charged with 24 felonies including four charges of first-degree murder in connection with the killing of four students and the wounding of seven others, including a teacher, in the mass shooting at Oxford High School on Tuesday. Children's Village is Oakland County's juvenile detention center. Later Wednesday, Crumbley, who is charged as an adult, was transferred to the Oakland County Jail.

Jennifer and James Crumbley were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; and Justin Shilling, 17. 

That snap decision by a concerned educator Tuesday morning prompted school officials to call Crumbley's parents to the high school that day and have the 15-year-old sophomore removed from class for a meeting at the school, McDonald said.

At the meeting, Ethan produced the note that had been scribbled over in several places in an attempt to hide its contents, officials said.

Oxford school officials showed the parents the drawings and said they were required to get their son into counseling in the next 48 hours. They asked the parents to remove Ethan from the school that day.

But they left the school without him, and Ethan was returned to class, prosecutors allege, with a semi-automatic gun in his backpack where he would soon allegedly begin his rampage across the school, gunning down classmates and teachers and leaving a trail of blood, empty casing, shattered windows and bullet-ridden doors in his path.

The prosecutor was asked why Ethan Crumbley was allowed back into class.

“I’m not going to give you a political answer, and I’m not going to cover for anybody,” McDonald said. “But, of course, he should not have been allowed to go back to that class. I believe that is a universal position. I’m not going to chastise or attack.”

On Thursday, two days after the shooting rampage, Oxford superintendent Tim Throne made his first public statement, maintaining no discipline was in order for Crumbley prior to the shooting.

Throne, who has declined interviews or to answer questions about Crumbley, addressed the circumstances in a YouTube video posted Thursday evening.

"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."

McDonald also said that on Nov. 29, a teacher at Oxford High School reported Ethan was searching for ammunition on his phone, she said. The school reached out to Jennifer Crumbley but never heard back from the parents.