Judge to decide if Oxford school district employees can be sued in shooting civil case

Families of Tate Myre and Justin Shilling filed a civil lawsuit against Oxford High School staff, claiming the shooting could have been prevented.

Photo of the exterior of Oxford High School.

An Oakland County Circuit Court judge is deciding whether Oxford School district employees can be sued over how they handled the mass high school shooting in November 2021.

The families of some victims filed a civil lawsuit that alleged criminal negligence on the part of several Oxford school employees.

Judge Ellen Brennan stated she will make a decision “sooner rather than later” after hearing arguments.

Lawyers for the district say state law grants the employees “governmental immunity from being sued.” But Ven Johnson, an attorney representing the families, says even if the litigation is thrown out, it won’t end the case.

“At some point, more sooner than later, we would try to appeal those rulings. First to the Michigan Court of Appeals — and if they didn’t agree with us on that — then all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court,” said Johnson.

Ethan Crumbley shot 11 people with a handgun during a rampage at Oxford High School on November 30, 2021, killing four of them. Crumbley pleaded guilty last October.

Prosecutors want to charge James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, with involuntary manslaughter for their role in preventing their son’s actions. The Michigan Supreme Court sent the case back to the Court of Appeals, ordering it to consider whether there is enough evidence for prosecutors to take the rare step of charging the parents of the shooter with a crime.

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  • Alex McLenon
    Alex McLenon is a Reporter with 101.9 WDET. McLenon is a graduate of Wayne State University, where he studied Media Arts & Production and Broadcast Journalism.
  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.