Someone helped parents of Oxford shooting suspect hide in Detroit apartment building
DETROIT – The parents of the suspected Oxford High School gunman appear to have fled the city on Friday after learning they faced charges in the shooting, and police said they were being assisted by someone they knew.
James Crumbley, 45, and Jennifer Crumbley, 43, were arraigned on Saturday morning on four counts of manslaughter each, but not before they had to be apprehended by police following a manhunt which spread to Detroit.
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald on Friday announced charges against the parents, who are accused of playing a role in the November 30 shooting at Oxford High School. Police said the couple’s son, Ethan Crumbley, fired dozens of shots during school hours that Tuesday, fatally striking four classmates and injuring seven others.
Following: Sunday Read: Everything We Know About The Oxford High School Shooting – Timeline, Charges, Evidence, More
James and Jennifer Crumbley were due to be brought to justice on Friday afternoon, but they never appeared in court and police were unable to locate them. Shortly after police issued a ‘be on the lookout’ alert for the Crumbleys, the couple’s attorneys – Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman – released a statement explaining that their clients had left town, but planned to return. . Throughout the arraignment on Saturday, lawyers maintained that the Crumbleys always intended to appear in court and “never” shied away from prosecution.
Several law enforcement agencies searched across southeast Michigan on Friday for the couple. Police said the Crumbleys withdrew $ 4,000 from a bank in Rochester Hills during this time. Then information led Detroit Police to where the couple appeared to be hiding: in a warehouse on the east side of town, near the Rivertown neighborhood.
Following: Police: Parents of Oxford shooting suspect hid in Detroit warehouse amid manhunt
Police said a business owner spotted the couple’s vehicle – a black 2021 Kia Seltos – in his Bellevue Street parking lot near Jefferson Avenue on Friday afternoon. Jennifer Crumbley was reportedly seen near the vehicle by the business owner and fled the area on foot after calling 911.
The car was reportedly parked outside a warehouse used as an art studio. Detroit Police said there was video footage that captured one of the fugitives entering the building, so they were convinced the couple were inside.
Detroit Police arrived at the scene between 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday and set up a perimeter and conducted surveillance, White said. It was not immediately clear how long the couple had been inside the building before law enforcement arrived.
The Crumbleys were hiding in a room inside the building. They were arrested and taken into custody without incident shortly before 2 a.m. on Saturday, officials said.
According to authorities, James and Jennifer Crumbley did not burst into the commercial space, but instead were helped by someone who let them enter the building. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said on Saturday afternoon that they had identified a person of interest, but had no plans to share that information yet.
Then, Sunday morning, the individual revealed himself through a statement from his lawyer.
Oakland County resident Andrzej Sikora, 65, operates a business inside the Detroit building where the Crumbleys appeared to be hiding on Friday. The man’s attorney, Clarence Dass, made the following statement on Sunday on behalf of Sikora:
“Sir. Sikora has not been charged with any felony. Nonetheless, after learning of the Crumbleys’ arrest on December 4, 2021, he voluntarily contacted the Detroit Police Department and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office to provide information, “the statement read.” He maintains his innocence throughout this process and fully cooperates with law enforcement to assist them in their investigation. “
On Saturday, Chief White said the person who helped the Crumbleys could face charges.
At his press conference on Saturday, Sheriff Bouchard said there were early indications that someone had helped James and Jennifer Crumbley go into hiding following the public announcement of the existence of warrants for the couple. Although the sheriff did not say if anyone was still in custody for helping the Crumbleys, he said no charges were laid against anyone on Saturday afternoon.
Suggestions for potential charges could include aiding or obstructing justice, Bouchard said. The indictment decision would come from the prosecution.
The relationship between the Crumbleys and the owner of the Sikora building is unclear at this time.
Defense attorneys Smith and Lehman argued on Saturday that they were unaware that Crumbley’s arraignment hearing was scheduled for Friday. The couple’s portrayal claims the couple left town for their own safety after the tragedy.
When asked if the couple were on the run or intended to return for their arraignment, Chief White said: “I don’t know, but that doesn’t indicate you surrendered, hiding in a warehouse.”
Due to court concerns that the Crumbleys pose potential flight risks, the couple are currently housed at the Oakland County Jail on $ 500,000 each, not 10% bond. If they post bail, they’ll need to wear GPS straps, turn in all their firearms to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, in addition to complying with several other stipulations.
Following: Full coverage of the Oxford High School shoot
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