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New lawsuit filed in Oxford High School shooting case

The lawsuit accuses the alleged shooter's parents and select employees at Oxford High School of negligence, saying they could have prevented the tragedy.

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. — A new lawsuit in the Oxford High School shooting case was announced Thursday morning. The suit was filed on behalf of William and Sheri Myre, parents of shooting victim Tate Myre; student Keegan Gregory and his parents, Chad and Meghan Gregory; and students Sophia and Grace Kempen and their mother, Lauren Aliano.

Attorney Ven Johnson held a press conference detailing the accusations against alleged shooter Ethan Crumbley, his parents Jennifer and James Crumbley, and employees at Oxford High School, including two school counselors, the Dean of Students and three teachers. 

"This was really a tough decision for our family, we’re fully aware that people will misperceive why we’re doing this," William Myre said at a press conference. "We taught Tate and his brothers to take responsibility for their actions and always be accountable for them, and it would be a dishonor to Tate if we didn’t do this."

Myre said he wants the suit to spark change. His family plans to create a foundation in their son's memory to provide peer-to-peer mentoring and mental health awareness. 

"We’re not tone-deaf," said Chad Gregory. His son, Keegan witnessed his closes friend, Justin Schilling shot and killed in the Nov. 30th attack. "This is a terrible time to do this. School went back this week. People faced walking through those doors with courage and resolve."

James and Jennifer Crumbley were accused of reckless and negligent conduct, while the school employees were accused of gross negligence in the case.

"Jennifer and James Crumbley repeatedly ignored their son's signs of significant psychiatric problems, including apparent hallucinations, delusions, mood disorders and depression, and they did nothing to assess Ethan's medical or psychiatric condition," reads a press release about the lawsuit.

RELATED: TIMELINE: Here's a look at the events leading up to the deadly Oxford High School shooting

On Nov. 29, 2021, a day before the shooting, an unnamed teacher witnessed Ethan searching for ammunition on his phone. The teacher sent him to school counselor Pam Parker Fine, who contacted Jennifer. 

Parker Fine received no response from Jennifer and the lawsuit claims that Parker Fine failed to search Ethan's backpack or locker, which would have revealed that Ethan was in possession of ammunition at that time.

Jennifer, after receiving a voicemail from Parker Fine, told Ethan not to get caught next time.

On the morning of the shooting, Nov. 30, 2021, another unnamed teacher saw Ethan watching a video of a shooting. A third teacher saw Ethan write a note with violent drawings and phrases like "Blood everywhere" and "The thoughts won't stop."

The lawsuit alleges that the teacher sent Ethan to school counselor Shawn Hopkins and Dean of Students Nicholas Ejack instead of contacting authorities, which they say violates Michigan law. 

Hopkins and Ejack spoke with Ethan and determined that he needed therapy. They contacted Ethan's parents, who came to the school. Hopkins and Ejack told the Crumbleys that Ethan should be sent home for the day and enrolled in therapy within 48 hours. The Crumbleys refused.

The lawsuit alleges that Child Protective Services should have been contacted according to Michigan law, but instead, Ethan was sent back to class. Hopkins and Ejack failed to search Ethan's backpack, which would have revealed that Ethan had the gun and ammunition that he allegedly used in the shooting.

Ethan returned to class with his backpack and the shooting began later that afternoon. Four people were killed and seven others injured.

"This tragedy could have and should have been prevented and we plan to fight like hell for our clients and the entire Oxford community," said Ven Johnson in a press release. "The inaction by those who are trained to help and protect students is inexcusable, let alone the abuse, neglect and behavior of the Crumbleys. We will hold those responsible for this tragedy accountable and get justice for the students, families and community."

RELATED: School district faces two $100 million lawsuits after Michigan shootings

The lawsuit, filed in Oakland County Circuit Court, contains 11 counts, including wrongful death, negligence, reckless conduct, gross negligence and claims under the Child Protection Act.

The additional lawsuit comes after two $100 million suits were announced in December against the Oxford school district. 

The mass shooting claimed the lives of four students and injured seven others, including a teacher on Nov. 30, 2021. 

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