AG: School district declined offer to review Oxford shooting

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Monday night that school officials have rejected her offer to review the shooting at Oxford High School last week that left four students dead and injured seven other people.

Nessel, the state's top law enforcement official, communicated her offer to the Oxford Community School District via email Saturday after Superintendent Tim Throne requested a third-party review of the incident and the events leading up to it. 

"I am extremely disappointed that the school district chose to decline my offer to devote the full resources of the Department of Attorney General to review the events leading up to and on November 30th," she said in a statement. "This tragedy demands a united effort from all of us who serve the Oxford community."

Attorney General Dana Nessel

Oxford Community Schools spokeswoman Danielle Stublensky did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night.

Throne has worked to address rumors surrounding the shooting Tuesday, which happened hours after the 15-year-old suspect, Ethan Crumbley, met with his parents and school counselors. During the meeting, they discussed a drawing a teacher found on the teen's desk that reportedly included a bullet and the words “blood everywhere.”

In a letter to the community on Saturday, the superintendent said counselors found the youth “calm” and didn't believe he would harm others. The parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were asked to take their son home but “flatly refused," he said.

School officials had wanted him removed until undergoing counseling. Throne has said Crumbley had not been disciplined before the attack.

The teen remained in school after the meeting with a semi-automatic gun presumably inside his backpack, prosecutors allege.

The superintendent wrote in his letter Saturday that the district wants a third party to investigate the events before the shooting "so we leave no stone unturned, including any and all interaction the student had with staff and students."

He added an independent security consultant would review the district's safety practices and procedures.

Tim Throne, superintendent of Oxford Community Schools, speaks in a video released Thursday night on the school shooting.

Nessel has said a probe by her office could determine criminal intent and civil liability, including whether certain school, district or state policies were violated.

The department has statewide jurisdiction and does not need the district's voluntary participation to conduct a review, the attorney general has said, although its involvement would help produce a "much more meaningful" investigation. 

The offices of the Oakland County prosecutor and sheriff investigate only criminal conduct.

In her statement Monday night, Nessel said her team would "continue to support the ongoing criminal investigation in Oakland County and looks forward to meeting with parents, students and teachers when they are ready to share their thoughts. To that end, we also remain committed to evaluating opportunities for our department to ensure that students in Oxford — and across Michigan — receive the protection they deserve and that guns are kept out of our schools.”

Karen McDonald, the county prosecutor, left open the possibility on Monday that school officials also may face charges.

"In this case, a lot could have been done different," she said in an interview Monday with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "Good Morning America."

The findings of an Oakland County Sheriff's Office probe would determine whether school officials are charged. 

On Saturday, Sheriff Mike Bouchard said school officials were not specifically under investigation.

Ethan Crumbley is being held in the Oakland County Jail without bond. He has been charged with one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. 

The teen was charged as an adult and is facing up to life in prison.

His parents were arrested early Saturday and charged with involuntary manslaughter related to the shooting. They have a combined $1 million bond and have pleaded not guilty.