OXFORD, Mich. (FOX 2) - Jennifer Crumbley's work supervisor and human resources manager shared their interactions with her the day of the Oxford High School shooting during a preliminary hearing Tuesday.
Jennifer, the mother of accused school shooter Ethan Crumbley, was the marketing director at a real estate management company. She was at work on Nov. 30, 2021, the day of the Oxford High School shooting, before texting her boss and company COO Andrew Smith to tell him she was going to her son's school to meet with a counselor.
Oxford High School meeting
Jennifer and her husband James Crumbley were called to the school after a teacher found alarming drawings on a worksheet. Text messages showed that Jennifer sent Smith a photo of that worksheet when she told him she was going to the school just after 10 a.m.
Smith said Jennifer was invited to an office meeting that was not required and, had she opted to stay with her son instead of coming back into the office, he said Jennifer would not have been disciplined. He noted that the company is family-friendly and would have allowed her to handle that matter.
HR manager Kathy Poliquin corroborated this, saying that the company lets employees leave for family issues. She also added that she believed Jennifer had 12 hours of personal time off that she could have used that day.
However, Jennifer left Ethan at school and returned to work.
Learning about the Oxford High School shooting
Smith said he saw Jennifer at work around noon and asked her how things were. He said she told him she needed to get a counselor for her son. She also told him that a family pet and a grandparent had recently died, and she felt like a failure.
When told this, Smith said he "thought she just felt sad about the situation."
Another co-worker, Smith's administrative assistant Amanda Holland, said Jennifer also told her she felt like a failure. When she said this, Holland said she "seemed a little sarcastic."
Holland said Jennifer had showed her Ethan's drawings, and Holland told her she should take him out of school for the day.
"I told her I thought it was scary that he would draw that," Holland said.
Jennifer told Holland she would bring her to the barn with her. Jennifer had horses, and according to Holland, would talk about going to the barn almost daily.
She said that Jennifer didn't talk much about Ethan, but had told her that his close friend had moved away, and Jennifer feared he would be lonely. She also told Holland about marital issues, though Holland said they weren't friends and described their relationship as "friendly co-workers" who interacted daily.
Later that day, Smith said he heard Jennifer screaming in her office. When he went to see what was happening, she said there was an active shooter at her child's school, and she needed to leave.
About 20 minutes later, Smith said Jennifer texted him, "The gun is gone and so are the bullets."
Jennifer called Smith, who put the call on speakerphone in Poliquin's office.
"She was very hysterical. She was trying to get to the school," Poliquin said.
Poliquin said Jennifer was talking about a gun that was missing and that she was concerned for Ethan.
Poliquin said had minimal contact with Jennifer but that they were friendly with each other and were friends on social media.
"I was assuming it was her handgun that I saw on social media," said Poliquin, who saw the post Jennifer made showing a gun allegedly purchased for Ethan before the shooting.
Smith and Poliquin told Jennifer to call the police. She said her husband, who was at home, had already done so.
James and Jennifer Crumbley
Smith also showed her the worksheet Jennifer had texted him.
"My first thought was ‘This boy needs help,'" Poliquin said.
After that call, Jennifer again texted Smith:
"OMG Andy, he's going to kill himself. He must be the shooter," a text read.
She also said she needed a lawyer. Smith said he didn't have a lawyer suggestion.
After the Oxford High School shooting
At 3:39 p.m. the day of the shooting, Jennifer texted Smith again.
"I need my job. Please don’t judge me for what my son did," the text read.
Smith said he was surprised that she was worrying about work given what had happened.
Poliquin said Jennifer also called her later that day.
"She was afraid to lose her job," she said.
Poliquin told Jennifer to "tend to your family and don’t worry about work," and another senior leader told Jennifer she was on administrative leave for a couple weeks. She was told not to worry about her job, but Poliquin said she wanted to come back later that week to get her mind off of things. She was told no.