16-year-old charged with murder in death of two teens in Michigan

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — Ethan Crumbley was charged Friday with making a terrorist threat, discharging a firearm within a school safety zone and murder, following his arrest in connection with a shooting at Central High School in Michigan that killed two students.

Criminal complaints also charge Crumbley, 16, with multiple counts of assault with intent to murder, and criminal discharge of a firearm within a school safety zone, according to police and court records.

“It is not an impulsive act,” Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement. “It is calculated and planned out. It is not a spur-of-the-moment decision to pull out a gun and kill.”

He added: “Today’s results reflect that our prayers are answered. This is a miracle.”

Sixteen-year-old Casey Johns and 15-year-old Ryan Hudgins were fatally shot by Crumbley in a classroom Wednesday morning after Crumbley brought a loaded gun to school with him, authorities said. Another student was shot in the head but survived and was in stable condition at a hospital on Friday.

The attack initially shocked the area, as two students were killed in an attack that seemed totally random and seemingly unrepeatable, the likes of which have become all too common in the United States.

In a statement Friday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said: “May we in our community learn from today’s tragedy as we work to stay safe, and work to become better, as a community.”

That statement said she talked to President Donald Trump and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, and would hold a gathering with faith leaders and local officials on Saturday.

The shootings at Central High, which reopened to students on Thursday, provided some small measure of relief for the parents of those killed and injured. But it also brought new trauma and fear to the community as investigators struggled to understand the gunman’s actions, and the charges against him raised new fears among the school community and the broader community.

Detectives spent much of the day on Thursday interviewing students who had been in the classroom during the shooting. Police have said that there is no evidence that the shootings were planned in advance, but that Crumbley had been looking for “scapegoats” for his behavior, spurring him to bring the gun to school.

The boy’s classmates described him as a quiet and diligent student who played guitar and wrote poetry, and had not exhibited any sort of social media activity that seemed threatening or extremist. After Wednesday’s shooting, Police Chief Larry Weeks said, “This young man [Ccrumbley] was obviously mentally unbalanced.”

Investigators have suggested that Crumbley had a volatile relationship with his father, a logger who has said the boy had been tormented at school and made threatening comments, and that the boy may have been teased by a co-worker.

Police have said the teenager opened fire from a classroom with a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun after he arrived at school on Wednesday morning and was rebuffed by another teacher. He pulled the trigger at least once, police have said, striking both Johns and Hudgins, who later died at hospitals.

People who know the Johns family, which includes their three biological children and six foster children, called them “heroes.”

In a statement issued late Thursday, they expressed their “overwhelming gratitude” for all those who assisted in the search for their son, and said their prayers go out to the Crumbley family.

“We need more families to look at their kids differently, and ask for help when they need it, and we hope and pray, as well, that this will allow the message to get out to those parents: this happened and it needs to be addressed and stopped,” the statement said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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