Oxford High School shooting: what to know for Saturday
FERNDALE, Mich. - In their first court appearance as defendants, James and Jennifer Crumbley pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges that were announced Friday.
The arraignment was the latest update in a constantly evolving case that began with a mass shooting allegedly committed by the Crumbley's son at Oxford High School this week.
Meanwhile, the community has started its long road toward healing after a vigil attended by thousands of people was held Friday night for the victims.
Crumbleys plead not guilty
Both James and Jennifer Crumbley pleaded not guilty to counts of involuntary manslaughter Saturday morning.
In front of a judge at 9:30 a.m., they were read the charges that had been previously announced by the prosecutor on Friday.
"I understand," said Jennifer Crumbley, responding through tears to questions by Judge Julie Nicholson in the 52nd District Court.
The judge set both defendant's bond at $500,000 after expressing concerns the pair could be a flight risk after they failed to appear before the court Friday at 4 p.m.
If either manages to post 10% of their bond, they'll be required to turn in all firearms, cannot consume drugs or alcohol, and must wear a tether.
Representing the Crumbleys are Defense Attorneys Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman, who have previously represented figures such as Larry Nasser.
RELATED: Prosecutor describes warning signs at school ahead of mass shooting
During the arraignment, Smith fired back at statements made by Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald, saying both the prosecution and the media had been "cherry-picking" facts.
"Our clients are going to fight these charges," Smith said. "They were never fleeing prosecution, contrary to media reports."
James and Jennifer Crumbley
Both McDonald and Smith said that the public was missing more facts that would validate their case. At one point, Smith said the firearm used in the shooting earlier this week "was actually locked" and that Ethan Crumbley didn't have free access to it.
Their next court appearance will be a probable cause conference on Dec. 14.
From suspects to fugitives
It would be some 10 hours from the announcement of charges before the Crumbleys would be brought into custody. The Detroit police chief attributed their locating to a tip.
It was the latest development in a quickly changing case after McDonald took the rare step of charging both parents in the mass shooting that took place days before.
A Be On The Look Out (BOLO) alert was initially sent to law enforcement agencies after the Crumbleys could not be found at their home Friday afternoon. Sources with police told FOX 2 the last place they were spotted was in Rochester Hills around 2-3 p.m. where they allegedly withdrew $4,000 from a bank.
However, defense attorneys for the couple contradicted what others had said, saying that the two hadn't been fleeing but were hiding for their own safety.
They never showed up for their 4 p.m. arraignment.
By then, the U.S. Marshals had joined the search Friday night and offered a $10,000 reward leading to their arrest.
RELATED: Detroit Police chief says tip led to arrest of James, Jennifer Crumbley
Shortly before 2 a.m., a tip led Detroit Police to an art studio on the city's east side, where the couple was hiding in a basement. Police began searching on Bellevue Street after the Crumbley's black KIA SUV was discovered in the area.
The pair appeared to look distressed as they were arrested, Detroit Police Chief James White said. They were unarmed and did not resist, but there are suspicions over how they got into the building.
"They didn't break in. somebody let them in," White said. "We don't know the relationship yet. That's active. That person could face charges."
A fragile community in the spotlight
Thousands of people converged in downtown Oxford Friday night to mourn the loss of four of their own.
Tate Myre, 16, a standout player on the football team, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, a talented artist, Justin Shilling, also 17 and the co-captain of the school’s bowling team, and the youngest victim 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, an athlete on the school’s volleyball and basketball teams.
"To the families who lost their loved ones, there are no words that any of us have," said Kelly Westbrook, Oxford DDA. "The only thing I can say is that we as a community, are here for you."
Upheaval in the small community has put what was a quiet northern Oakland County town in the national spotlight as the latest example of gun violence in schools.
It appears that spotlight has turned the tightnit town into one on edge. About 15 minutes into the vigil, someone fainted, causing people to call for help. Many instead began running frantically, believing something worse had happened.
"All I heard was screaming, and I saw people running," said one woman. "All I could think was get somewhere safe, get my mother and cousin somewhere safe."
RELATED: Thousands flood downtown Oxford in emotional vigil honoring shooting victims
Oakland County Executive David Coulter and Sheriff Michael Bouchard urged for calm.
"There have been things circulating on Facebook today that there was going to be something happening here tonight, and I think the kids were probably aware of that, and that’s what the first thing that came to mind," said Mark Poppelen who attended the vigil.
After things calmed down the vigil did continue. In addition to the lives lost, people paid tribute to the six other students and the teacher who were also shot on that horrific day — but survived.
"Our wounds are still open, they are raw, our pain is fresh and real," said Pastor Matt Shuler, Journey Lutheran Church.