Suspect, 16, arrested in calls tied to high school threats in Oakland County

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

A 16-year-old suspect from the United Kingdom was arrested in connection with school threats made against four Oakland County high schools on April 8.

The Oakland County Sheriff's Office announced the arrest on Thursday, alleging the teen made threats via telephone to cause violence at Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills and at high schools in Brandon Township, Lake Orion and Oxford.

The teen was arrested on April 13, police said.

"As I said at the time, we were going to be aggressive to hold perpetrators accountable,” said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard. “In conjunction with our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and police officials from the United Kingdom, that has in fact occurred and a suspect has been arrested. Let this serve as a message to anyone who would threaten our schools or any other institution in Oakland County. We will come for you.”

The arrest was the result of an investigation involving the Sheriff’s Office, the Bloomfield Hills Department of Public Safety and 14 other agencies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and police in the United Kingdom, police said.

Police said 37 other businesses and schools across the United States received threats linked to the suspect.

Oakland County officials said Homeland Security was coordinating with law enforcement in the United Kingdom for possible charges. The teen was released to his parents while the investigation continues.

The threats, none of which proved to be credible, were made by phone and were initially believed to have come from Florida and New York state, based on the area codes, police said.

Extra patrols were assigned to Oxford High School after the calls were made.

During that investigation, sheriff’s detectives learned Cranbrook, Lake Orion High School and Brandon High School received similar harassing calls.

The caller to Oxford High School claimed to be Ethan Crumbley, the former Oxford student charged with multiple felonies including first-degree murder in connection with the Nov. 30 mass shooting that killed four students and for wounded six other students and a teacher.

Crumbley is being held without bond in the Oakland County Jail awaiting trial.

Speaking with a British accent, the caller from the UK said he was depressed and was going to “shoot up the school” and “finish” the job he started, according to police.

In a second call to Oxford High, the caller faked an accent and claimed he was going to shoot up the school.

In the Brandon Township threat, the male caller claimed there was a man in a black pickup truck in the parking lot with an AR-15 and he was going to shoot up the school. 

Detectives called the number back and the person who answered claimed to be Ethan Crumbley. When asked for his location so detectives could further investigate the claim, he refused to provide it.

Detectives confirmed the same number was used in the threats against Brandon Township and Lake Orion high schools.