Police in the Midwestern U.S. state of Michigan say they have arrested the parents of a teenager charged with four counts of first-degree murder in a shooting Tuesday at his high school.
Jennifer and James Crumbley were arrested early Saturday in Detroit, according to police.
A prosecutor had filed involuntary manslaughter charges against the parents in connection with the deaths.
The parents, however, failed to appear in court Friday, causing police to issue a fugitive warrant for the couple who were charged with four counts of manslaughter for ignoring warning signs ahead of the school shooting and giving their son access to a gun.
The couple’s lawyer, Shannon Smith, told authorities they left town earlier in the week for their own safety, according to the Associated Press.
U.S. marshals had issued wanted posters for the parents, offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the couple’s arrest.
The Crumbleys were charged three days after their 15-year-old son, Ethan, allegedly opened fire at Oxford High School in the town of Oxford, Michigan, killing four students and wounding seven other people.
Karen McDonald, the chief prosecutor in Oakland County, Michigan, said in an interview with WJR-AM radio in Detroit, Michigan that the Crumbleys’ actions prior to the killings went “far beyond negligence.”
Prosecutors said Ethan Crumbley had displayed several warning signs before the school shooting, including drawing a picture of a handgun and a bleeding figure with the words “Blood everywhere” and “The thoughts won’t stop — help me” written on the sheet.
They also said a teacher had seen the teenager searching online for ammunition on his phone and alerted school officials.
James and Jennifer Crumbley were summoned to the school a few hours before the shooting but “resisted” the idea of taking their son home from school, according to McDonald.
Parents in the U.S. are seldom charged in school shootings involving their children, experts say. If convicted, the Crumbleys could face up to 15 years in prison.
Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including first-degree murder and terrorism, for allegedly killing the students with a semiautomatic gun that investigators said Crumbley’s father had bought legally last week.
Michigan law does not require gun owners to keep weapons locked away from children.
Tuesday’s attack was the deadliest shooting in a U.S. school this year, according to Education Week. It was also the latest in a series of mass shootings at U.S. schools that span decades.
Information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.