Michigan school shooting: Crumbley lawyer says gun was locked up, accuses prosecutor of creating media circus

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Attorneys Mariell Lehman and Shannon Smith, representing the parents of Michigan high school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, said Saturday the gun that the 15 year old allegedly used was “locked” before Tuesday’s tragedy.

James Crumbley, 45, purchased the weapon recovered following the shooting – a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol – at a local firearms store on Nov. 26, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said earlier this week, adding that Ethan Crumbley had access to the gun at home before he allegedly brought it to Oakland High School.

“That gun was actually locked, so when the prosecution is stating that this child had free access to a gun, that is…absolutely not true,” Lehman said Saturday morning during the couple’s arraignment.

Crumbley arraignment on Dec. 4, 2021. (Oakland County District Court)

Crumbley arraignment on Dec. 4, 2021. (Oakland County District Court)

The attorneys defending James and Jennifer Crumbley, 43, also accused McDonald of creating a media “spectacle” on Friday after authorities issued a “be on the lookout” (BOLO) alert for the pair, who did not show up to an arraignment apparently scheduled for Friday. McDonald charged them with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each during a Friday press conference.

MICHIGAN PROSECUTOR HIGHLIGHTS TEXTS FROM SCHOOL SHOOTING SUSPECT’S PARENTS SENT TO SON BEFORE TRAGEDY

Local authorities, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service, eventually located them in a commercial building in Detroit early Saturday morning.

“Unlike the prosecution, we weren’t attempting to make this a media … spectacle. This case is absolutely the saddest, most tragic, worst case imaginable,” Lehman said Saturday. “There is absolutely no doubt. But our clients were absolutely going to turn themselves in. It was just a matter of logistics, and all the prosecution had to do was communicate with me about it.”

James and Jennifer Crumbley. (Oakland County Sheriff's Office)

James and Jennifer Crumbley. (Oakland County Sheriff’s Office)

Lehman and Smith, who previously represented convicted child molester Larry Nassar, argued that they were going to “make arrangements” to have their clients turn themselves in on Friday and tried to contact the prosecutor’s office multiple times on Friday “but never got a call back.”

MICHIGAN SHOOTING SUSPECT PARENTS PLEAD NOT GUILTY TO INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER CHARGES: LIVE UPDATES

“The prosecutor’s office, instead of getting back to us in any way, decided to have a press conference, and as Miss McDonald admitted, try to find a way to act to surprise our clients and catch them off guard when it was so unnecessary,” Lehman said. “And last night and throughout the day, we were in contact with our clients. They were scared. They were terrified. They were not at home. They were figuring out what to do. Getting finances in order.”

McDonald refuted the defense lawyers’ claim, saying the Crumbleys “didn’t turn themselves in” on Friday. 

“We were told they were out of town, except that yesterday morning they withdrew $4,000 from an ATM in Rochester Hills,” she said.

People attend a vigil downtown to honor those killed and wounded during the recent shooting at Oxford High School on December 03, 2021 in Oxford, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

People attend a vigil downtown to honor those killed and wounded during the recent shooting at Oxford High School on December 03, 2021 in Oxford, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

She added later: “The whole country knew that these charges were coming. And lastly, to suggest that this anyone is somehow using this incident to create press — there’s a lot of attention here because four children were murdered, and seven others were injured, and that that is on the mind of every single person in this country.”

MICHIGAN SCHOOL SHOOTING: ETHAN CRUMBLEY’S PARENTS FACING INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER CHARGES

James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of the 15-year-old suspect, pleaded not guilty to four counts of involuntary manslaughter Saturday.

Ahead of the arraignment, Smith and Lehman issued the following statement: “We understand that our clients were apprehended last night, although we fully intended to turn them in first thing this morning for arraignment, contrary to the misinformation that has been rampant in the media.”

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They continued: “While it’s human nature to want to find someone to blame or something to point to or something that gives us answers, the charges in this case are intended to make an example and send a message. The prosecution has very much cherry-picked and slanted specific facts to further their narrative to do that. We intend to fight this case in the courtroom and not in the court of public opinion. We know that in the end the entire story and truth will prevail.”

The four students who died in the shooting are 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin and 15-year-old Justin Shilling.

Fox News’ Greg Norman and Paul Best contributed to this report.

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