Watch CBS News

Lawyer: Detroit Artist Didn't Know Ethan Crumbley's Parents Stayed In Studio

DETROIT (AP/CBS) - A Detroit-area artist is cooperating with police after the parents of Ethan Crumbley, the Oxford High School student charged in the school shooting, were found in the artist's studio and had stayed in it overnight.

James and Jennifer Crumbley, who face involuntary manslaughter counts, were found early on Saturday, Dec. 4, inside a Detroit commercial building. The building is located at the 1100 block of Bellevue near E. Lafayette.

The parents of the 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley charged in this week's deadly shooting at Michigan's Oxford High School were each charged Friday with four counts of homicide involuntary manslaughter. (Credit: Oakland County Sheriff's Office)

The couple's attorneys have said they didn't intend to flee, countering authorities who accused them of eluding capture for their alleged role in a school shooting that left four students dead.

Their 15-year-old son, Ethan Crumbley, has been charged as an adult with murder, terrorism, and other crimes.

The Crumbley parents went to Andrzej Sikora's studio on Friday, Dec. 3, in the morning, but according to attorney Clarence Dass, Sikora was unaware of the charges or that they had stayed in the studio after he left for the day. Dass also said Sikora had a "friendly relationship" with the Crumbley's but declined to give further details.

Dass said Sikora voluntarily contacted authorities on Saturday morning when he heard that the couple had been taken into custody. The search for the Crumbley's began in the afternoon on Dec. 3.

"There was a lot of confusion, and the Crumbleys went to him for safety. He didn't know about the charges," Dass said. "They were there in the daytime. He left in the early evening. He didn't even know they were still there."

Sikora, 65, has not been charged, but Detroit police have said the Crumbleys "were aided in getting into the building" and that a person who helped them may also face charges. Detroit police did not have further information Sunday.

Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe confirmed Sunday that Sikora's attorney had reached out. McCabe said in a news release that authorities would interview Sikora on Monday afternoon.

Dass said that Sikora, a Polish-born American artist who lives in Oakland County, has been in the country for years. His work, largely murals, can be found around the Detroit area, including on homes and businesses.

Six students and a teacher were also injured in Tuesday's shooting at Oxford High School, roughly 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit.

On Friday, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald's office made the rare decision to file charges against Ethan Crumbley's parents. Prosecutors accused them of failing to intervene on the day of the shooting despite being confronted with a drawing and chilling message — "blood everywhere" — that was found at their son's desk. They could each face up to 15 years in prison.

The Crumbleys committed "egregious" acts, from buying a gun on Black Friday and making it available to their son to resisting his removal from school when they were summoned a few hours before Tuesday's shooting, McDonald alleged.

Defense attorneys for the Crumbleys have argued that they never intended to flee and had made plans to meet their lawyers Saturday morning.

School district officials have said a third party will investigate the events at Oxford High School that occurred before the shooting. On Sunday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said her office could conduct the probe.

© 2021 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.