The parents of a 14-year-old victim of the 2021 Oxford High School shooting in Michigan are suing gun dealer Acme Shooting Goods, LLC, and the Oxford Community School District.
The victim was shot in the face during the Nov. 30, 2021, school shooting that left four students dead and seven others injured.
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Sommers Schwartz, P.C., on Wednesday afternoon announced the new lawsuit, in which the victim's parents, Matthew and Mary Mueller, accuse Acme of "negligently and/or unlawfully supplied the minor shooter with a firearm he could not lawfully possess by providing the gun … to the shooter’s father despite actual and/or constructive knowledge that the father was engaging in an illicit straw purchase … and that the Acme gun was intended for the shooter."
It is the first lawsuit related to the Oxford shooting against a gun dealer.
"No family or community should have to experience the pain that we endured on November 30, 2021, and continue to deal with to this day," the Muellers said in a Wednesday statement. "Both of us are teachers in the Oxford Community School District at Oxford Middle School and while we worked to keep our students as calm and as safe as we possibly could, we were panicked, unable to reach our son. For 45 minutes, we did not know if he was alive."
"We next saw him in a hospital bed," they continued. "While we will live with the horror of that day forever, he will live with the physical pain and trauma of being shot for the rest of his life. That pain was avoidable. We are bringing this suit so that the failures both in the sale of this gun and at our school which allowed this to happen can never happen again. No family or community needs to experience this pain and no child should have to live with it for the rest of their life."
The 15-year-old shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, is accused of using his father's gun — a 9 m.m. Sig Sauer pistol — to fatally shoot multiple victims inside the Oxford High School building on the morning of Nov. 30.
His father, James Crumbley, allegedly purchased the weapon recovered following the shooting at Acme on Nov. 26, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said in December, adding that Ethan Crumbley had access to the gun at home before he allegedly brought it to Oxford High School.
The teen suspect subsequently posted images of the gun on social media with the caption: "[J]ust got my new beauty today [heart emoji] sig sauer 9mm any questions I will answer," according to McDonald. Jennifer Crumbley also posted to social media, "mom and son day testing out his new Christmas present."
Attorneys Mariell Lehman and Shannon Smith, representing James Crumbley and his wife, Jennifer Crumbley, said the pistol was "locked" before the tragedy occurred.
Both James and Jennifer Crumbely are facing four counts each of involuntary manslaughter for allegedly making the weapon accessible to their son.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday also accuses the school district of "recklessly creating or exacerbating the risk of a mass shooting at Oxford High School through acts showing a deliberate indifference to the safety and constitutional rights of Oxford High School students and a gun dealer choosing to negligently and unlawfully sell a firearm," similar to accusations made against the school district in other various lawsuits following the 2021 shooting.
A separate lawsuit filed in May sheds light on how school administrators had possession of the backpack that was allegedly carrying Ethan Crumbley’s gun and ammunition after he visited the school counselor's office the morning of the shooting — but failed to search the bag before handing it back to the teenager.
Both parents met with their son and school leaders the morning of the shooting after a teacher caught Ethan Crumbley drawing disturbing images in class. After the meeting, James and Jennifer Crumbley left. Ethan Crumbley returned to class. He then fired at least 30 rounds into the school hallway. He faces multiple charges, including four counts of first-degree murder, according to prosecutors.
On the morning of the shooting, a teacher noticed a note on Crumbley's desk with drawings of a gun, a bullet and a person being shot, McDonald revealed to reporters in December.
"The Mueller family has been irreparably harmed by multiple points of failure that foreseeably led to the tragic mass shooting at Oxford High School. This suit seeks injunctive relief for both the business practices at Acme Shooting Goods, which the complaint alleges, negligently and likely illegally sold the firearm used in this shooting, and the protocols at Oxford Community School District for their failure to appropriately take action to address safety concerns in the school," Brady Senior Counsel Erin Davis said in a statement.
Attorneys Matthew Turner and Lisa Esser of Sommers Schwartz, P.C., noted that the lawsuit "seeks a transparent, independent investigation into the events of November 30, 2021."
"It also seeks to encourage policy reform within the Oxford School District so that when faced with a student demonstrating suicidal and/or homicidal ideations in the future, counselors and other staff are trained to recognized such a mental health crisis, have protocols in place to immediately remove that student from the general school population, and have the means to take action to ensure that that student does not have immediate access to a dangerous weapon," they added.