Michigan school leaders let student accused of shooting lead to ‘murderous rampage’

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By Robert Snell | The Detroit News

Survivors of the mass shooting at Oxford High School filed an updated $100million lawsuit Friday night accusing the superintendent, principal and others of gross negligence, intentionally inflicting emotional distress and failing to have prevented the massacre.

The 107-page lawsuit added 11 new charges against school officials following new information that has emerged in the five weeks since investigators said the 15-year-old sophomore , Ethan Crumbley, shot dead four classmates at Oxford High School and injured seven others. , including a teacher.

He faces four counts of first-degree premeditated murder and 20 other felonies and was due to stand trial on Friday, hours before Southfield attorney Geoffrey Fieger is due to file the amended lawsuit.

Fieger filed the original lawsuit Dec. 9 on behalf of sisters Riley and Bella Franz, students at Oxford High who survived the shooting. Riley, a 17-year-old senior, was shot in the neck next to Bella, 14, a freshman, as they exited the bathroom during the attack, according to Fieger.

RELATED: More Details Emerge on Michigan School Shooting of Teen

The amended lawsuit accuses Oxford Superintendent Tim Throne of knowing about the threats against the students, failing to prevent the attack and putting the students in greater danger.

“The individually named defendants are each responsible, by their actions, for making victimized students less safe, for causing direct harm to students, and for acting in such a reckless manner as to demonstrate a lack of substantial concern as to whether injury results,” Fieger wrote.

The amended lawsuit filed Friday night continues to list the allegations against a man who school district attorney Timothy Mullins said has not worked in the district for more than a year. Mullins called the allegations false.

“(Fieger) has added a few counts of negligence to his complaint and now, like before, he doesn’t even know who he is suing,” Mullins said on Saturday.

Mullins has previously said Oxford school officials would claim they were shielded from liability.

“A criminal investigation and prosecution is ongoing and the Oakland County District Attorney has asked us not to comment on the facts of the case to avoid interference,” Mullins said. “Our priority is to get the children back to school. There will be plenty of time for comments.

The lawsuit accuses school officials of failing to stop an attack that inflicted physical and psychological injuries on students and spreads blame among top Oxford school officials as well as teachers and unidentified advisers.

The attack was the country’s deadliest school shooting since 2018. Oxford High School students Hana St. Juliana, 14, were killed in the attack; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; and Justin Shilling, 17.

The lawsuit includes details that have emerged in multiple court documents and appearances since the shooting.

On the day of the shooting, one of Crumbley’s teachers saw graphic drawings with violent imagery and cries for help and reported what she saw to counselors, according to police and officials. school.

Crumbley allegedly told advisers once he was taken to the office that his drawing was part of a video game he was designing and that he planned to pursue a career in video game design, Throne said in a statement. communicated. Crumbley stayed in the office for about 90 minutes and worked on school assignments while the school tried to reach his parents.

After speaking to parents James and Jennifer Crumbley at the school office and again to Ethan Crumbley, school counselors concluded that he had no intention of self-harming or harming others, a said Throne.

His parents were told they had 48 hours to seek counseling for their child or the school would contact child protective services. They were asked to take their son home for the day, but they “adamantly” refused and left without their son, Throne said.

Police said they believe the handgun was concealed in Ethan Crumbley’s backpack.

  • This is the second exhibit in a file for Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald showing an image of the photo Ethan Crumbley allegedly drew on the day of the Oxford High School shooting. Exhibit two shows that some images and words have been crossed out and other positive messages have been added, such as “I love my life so much!!!” and “We’re all friends here.” This is the second exhibit in a file for Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald showing an image of the photo Ethan Crumbley allegedly drew on the day of the Oxford High School shooting. Exhibit two shows that some images and words have been crossed out and other positive messages have been added, such as “I love my life so much!!!” and “We’re all friends here.” This is Exhibit 2 of a docket filed by Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald showing an image of the photo Ethan Crumbley allegedly drew on the day of the high school shooting. ‘Oxford. Exhibit two shows that some images and words have been crossed out and other positive messages have been added, such as “I love my life so much!!!” and “We’re all friends here.” This is Exhibit 2 of a docket filed by Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald showing an image of the photo Ethan Crumbley allegedly drew on the day of the high school shooting. ‘Oxford. Exhibit two shows that some images and words have been crossed out and other positive messages have been added, such as “I love my life so much!!!” and “We’re all friends here.” (Provided by Office of Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald)

  • This is exhibit number one in the Oakland County District Attorney's file...

    This is the first exhibit in Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald’s case showing an image of the photo Ethan Crumbley allegedly drew on the day of the Oxford High School shooting. (Provided by Office of Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald)

  • FILE - This undated combo of photos provided by the...

    FILE – This undated combination of photos provided by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office shows James Crumbley, left, and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, a teenager accused of killing four college students during a shooting at Oxford High School, Michigan. The parents, charged with their son in the fatal shooting, return to court on Friday, January 7, 2022, to seek a lower bond. (Oakland County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File)

  • Ethan Crumbley, accused of shooting at Oxford High School, appears at...

    Ethan Crumbley, accused of the Oxford High School shooting, appears for his probable cause hearing via remote videoconference on December 13, 2021. The conference has been adjourned and rescheduled for January 7, 2022.

  • FILE – Handwritten messages are left on the site of the memorial...

    FILE – Handwritten messages are left at the memorial site on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, outside Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, after a 15-year-old allegedly killed these four classmates and injured seven others in a shooting inside the North Oakland County school a week earlier. School officials across the country plan to step up security on Friday in response to social media posts warning of violence. Anonymous threats on TikTok have angered many educators as they circulate in the wake of a deadly school shooting in Michigan. (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP, File)

  • Detroit police were looking for James and Jennifer Crumbley from...

    Detroit police were looking for James and Jennifer Crumbley of Oxford on the east side of the city early Saturday morning, Dec. 4, 2021. (Kevin J. Hardy, The Detroit News)

  • A well-wisher kneels to pray at a memorial on...

    A supporter kneels in prayer in front of a memorial on the Oxford High School sign in Oxford, Michigan on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. A 15-year-old student opened fire on the school, killing several students and injuring several others people, including a teacher. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald said a teacher reported that Ethan Crumbley was also looking for ammunition on his phone at school a day before the shooting. School officials contacted Jennifer Crumbley but never heard back.

Fieger accused high school principal Steven Wolf of knowing about Crumbley’s threats of violence, according to the lawsuit.

“Despite the messages and knowledge of the threats of violence, Defendant Wolf sent emails to parents at Oxford High School asking them not to share the messages, report them or take the threats seriously,” Fieger wrote.

The principal made the situation worse, Fieger added.

“Defendant Wolf excited Ethan Crumbley by removing him from the class, warning him that child protective services might be called (without actually calling child protective services), thus encouraging Crumbley to speed up his murder schedule,” according to the lawsuit.

“Defendant Wolf gave Ethan Crumbley the opportunity to retrieve the gun from his backpack and shoot the students at Oxford High School,” Fieger wrote. “…Wolf’s conduct was so reckless that it demonstrated a substantial lack of concern as to whether injury occurred when he acted as stated above.”

The lawsuit accuses two anonymous school counselors of failing to report that they found violent pictures and notes drawn by Crumbley that threatened violence against other students.

The failure to act provided “license to Ethan Crumbley to commit his acts of violence, thereby allowing Ethan Crumbley the opportunity to complete his murderous rampage on an expedited timeline,” Fieger wrote.

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Twitter: @robertsnellnews

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