Michigan School Shooting Suspect to Pursue Insanity Defense
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) — A teenager charged with killing four students at Michigan high school will pursue an insanity defense, his lawyers said in a notice filed Thursday as he, his parents and school officials faced a new lawsuit over the attack at Oxford High School that killed four students.
The notice, listed in a summary of case filings available online, should lead to mental health exams of 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, who is charged as an adult with murder and other crimes for the Nov. 30 shooting, which also and wounded six other students and a teacher.
The lawsuit, meanwhile, was announced by Detroit-area attorney Ven Johnson on behalf of the parents of Tate Myer, who was slain Nov. 30, and other students who witnessed the shootings. It alleges negligence by school officials and Crumbley’s parents over the attack.
“We’re sad and heartbroken — our lives forever changed,” William Myre said at a news conference. “Our family will never be the same. We’re not doing good. All we do is walk around the house and think about Tate.”
The lawsuit, which seeks at least $25,000, names Oxford High School’s dean of students, two counselors and three teachers as defendants. Crumbley and his parents also are named as defendants.
The Associated Press sent an email Thursday morning seeking comment from the school district.
The suspect’s parents are accused of intentional, reckless and negligent conduct that led to the mass shooting. The Oxford High School staff and teachers are accused of gross negligence that led to the shooting by not removing the shooter from the school building earlier.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Oakland County Circuit Court on behalf of Tate Myer’s parents, William and Sheri. Also named as plaintiffs are Chad and Meghan Gregory, whose son, Keegan, was hiding in a school bathroom with Justin Shilling when Shilling was fatally shot.
The lawsuit also was filed on behalf of Lauren Aliano, whose daughters, Sophia Kempen and Grace Kempen, were hiding in classrooms during the shooting.
Ethan Crumbley’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, later were charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Prosecutors have said the gun used in the shooting was bought days before by James Crumbley and their son had full access to it.
The lawsuit filed Thursday says Keegan Gregory was texting his family from the bathroom stall “and describing these horrific events” as Shilling was shot.
Ethan Crumbley “then ordered Keegan out of the stall and onto the floor, whereupon Keegan instead dashed out the bathroom door to safety,” the lawsuit read.
The school, in Oakland County, is about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit. It reopened Monday with its interior renovated since the shooting.
In December, Jeffrey and Brandi Franz filed a pair of lawsuits in federal court and county circuit court seeking $100 million each against the district. Their 17-year-old daughter, Riley, was shot in the neck. Her 14-year-old sister, Bella, a ninth grader, was next to her at the time she was shot.
Their lawsuit says school officials and high school staff didn’t do enough to prevent the shooting and protect students.