The day before Ethan Crumbley, 15, allegedly opened fire on his classmates at Oxford High School, the student met “with school personnel about some concerning behavior,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.
And hours before the shooting Tuesday, Crumbley and his parents had a meeting with school officials about a different issue, according to Bouchard, who declined to expand on the details of those discussions.
During Crumbley’s arraignment Wednesday, authorities said they found two videos on Crumbley’s cell phone in which he talked about shooting and killing students at the high school.
Another piece of evidence investigators uncovered is a journal that was in Crumbley’s backpack that detailed his “desire to shoot up the school to include murdering students,” Lt. Tim Willis said during the arraignment.
Video from the school shows the assailant fired at the victims at close range, often aiming at the head or chest, Bouchard told CNN Wednesday.
In court, prosecutors said video from school surveillance cameras showed Crumbley with a backpack, and a minute later exiting a bathroom without the backpack and with a gun in hand.
Crumbley began firing outside the bathroom, prosecutor Marc Keast said. After students started running away, he proceeded down the hallway at a “methodical pace” and shot inside classrooms and at students who hadn’t escaped, Keast said. That continued for another four or five minutes until he went to another bathroom, Keast said.
When deputies arrived, he set down the gun and surrendered.
Crumbley on Wednesday was charged as an adult with terrorism causing death and four counts of first-degree murder. He also faces seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, Oakland County prosecutor Karen D. McDonald said.
“There’s a lot of digital evidence … there’s video, there’s things that have been on social media, but you probably don’t even need to see that to know how terrifying it is to be in close proximity of another student shooting and killing fellow students. I mean, it’s terror,” McDonald told CNN of the terrorism charge.
Addressing the first-degree murder charges, McDonald told reporters the accusation “requires premeditation and I am absolutely sure after reviewing the evidence that it isn’t even a close call, it was absolutely premeditated.”
Crumbley’s lawyer entered a not guilty plea on the teen’s behalf Wednesday during the arraignment. The judge scheduled a probable cause hearing for December 13 and a preliminary examination hearing for December 20. He’s currently being held at the Oakland County Jail.
Additionally, McDonald has indicated her office is considering charges against Crumbley’s parents, with the potential charges stemming from the parents owning a firearm, which McDonald said comes with legal responsibilities like securing the gun properly and ensuring ammunition is kept separate.
The weapon authorities said was used in the shooting, a 9mm Sig Sauer SP2022 semiautomatic pistol, was purchased by Crumbley’s father four days before the shooting, Bouchard said Tuesday.
CNN has pressed the prosecutor to speak on whether evidence was recovered to support potential charges and which charges are being considered. The prosecutor declined to go into detail citing the investigation, but reiterated that an announcement would be made as soon as possible regarding whether charges would be brought.
CNN has attempted to reach the parents of Ethan Crumbley and are attempting to identify an attorney for them.
Survivors coping with trauma and grief
As investigators continue to comb through details from the shooting, students who lived through the terrifying ordeal are struggling to cope in the aftermath.
JaVon Pittman, a student at Oxford high, said he took cover as the incident unfolded. “We put the table at the door, barricaded the doors, and we just turned the lights off and we hid under the desk,” the 17-year-old told CNN Wednesday.
He called his father while he was hiding, whispering that there was a shooting at his school, JaVon said. His younger brother, Jonte, was also at the school during the shooting and was able to escape.
“It was devastating to hear a phone call like that,” said JaMar Pittman, JaVon’s father.
JaVon and his father became emotional recalling the fear they both felt in that moment.
“You try to be there for your kids. You can’t be there for your kids, and you get nervous. And for you to be their leader, their father, the superhero, whatever. You can’t save your kids. That’s devastating,” JaMar Pittman said.
JaVon said two of the shooting victims were like brothers to him.
“I was good friends with Justin (Shilling). Me and him used to laugh about everything, we were cool. … Tate (Myre) was a wonderful kid. He was probably … the best person that I could probably meet, besides my dad and besides God,” JaVon said.
Zander Cumbey, a junior at the high school, told CNN that Myre was his close friend with whom he played football.
“He was a great person, a great leader,” he told CNN. “Always wanted to make sure everyone was okay and involved in everything he could.”
The lives lost
Hana St. Juliana, 14, was a basketball player at Oxford high.
“We will never forget your kind heart, silly personality, and passion for the game,” the team wrote on Twitter. “Since 6th grade camp you have stayed dedicated to Oxford Basketball, soaking in the game.”
Justin Shilling died Wednesday morning, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said. Anita’s Kitchen, where the 17-year-old worked, said he was co-captain of the bowling team, a devoted friend and “simply a pleasure to be around.”
“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time,” the statement said.
“This beautiful, smart, sweet loving girl was tragically taken from us all today leaving a huge hole in all of our hearts … ” Baldwin’s grandmother Jennifer Graves Mosqueda wrote on Facebook. “This horrific day could never have been imagined or planned for.”
And Tate Myre, 16, was a football player who had been playing for his school’s varsity team since he was a freshman, the team said in a tweet. He was also an honor student.
“Tate was a great young man with a bright future and beloved by all. You will be missed, Tate,” the team tweeted Tuesday evening.
CNN’s Amir Vera, Jason Hanna, Kristina Sgueglia, Carolyn Sung, Laura Dolan, Leon Jobe, and Taylor Romine contributed to this report.
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