Oxford district blasts Fieger lawsuit in new statement, superintendent disputes multiple claims

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Ethan Crumbley, the teen accused in the Oxford High School shooting, waived his right to a probable cause hearing on Jan. 7, 2022, in the 52-3 courtroom of Judge Carniak in Rochester Hills. Crumbley's case is being bound over to circuit court.
Ethan Crumbley, the teen accused in the Oxford High School shooting, waived his right to a probable cause hearing on Jan. 7, 2022, in the 52-3 courtroom of Judge Carniak in Rochester Hills. Crumbley's case is being bound over to circuit court.

Clarification: A previous version of this story misstated Oxford's statement in the headline. This story has been updated to reflect the statement.

School officials did not discover ammunition on display by Ethan Crumbley the day before the Nov. 30 Oxford High School shooting, the district’s superintendent wrote in a statement disputing multiple accusations made in a lawsuit against the district.

Oxford School District's Superintendent Tim Throne blasted the lawsuit, filed by attorney Geoffrey Fieger on behalf of a student injured in the shooting, in his statement posted Tuesday on the school website.

"The school district will respond in detail to the false allegations and reckless statements made by Mr. Fieger," Throne wrote to community members. "Your many questions will be answered in short order as the criminal prosecution moves forward and the school district responds to the inaccurate filing by Mr. Fieger."

Namely, the statement takes issue with recent accusations made in an updated complaint filed by Fieger's firm in the suit. The complaint claims that Crumbley, accused of shooting classmates and killing four, brought bullets to class the day before the shooting and displayed them. Throne wrote that the district has "no record or report of live ammunition ever being reported at any school and we have strict protocols and procedures in place when it comes to weapons on school grounds."

More: Oxford school officials accelerated Ethan Crumbley's timetable for murder, lawsuit says

More: Oxford school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley heading to trial, bond to be revisited

Fieger's suit also claims Crumbley brought a bird's head to school in a mason jar filled with yellow liquid. An attorney with his office said video surveillance showed Crumbley to be the student responsible for the head.

Throne wrote that while the "head of a bird was found in a jar in a student restroom" at the high school, school personnel, as well as law enforcement officials, investigated the incident. A Nov. 17 anonymous tip claimed the perpetrator of the bird incident was a student no longer at Oxford and not Crumbley.

"They were unable to determine when or how the jar was delivered. No threat or other content accompanied the strange act," Throne wrote.

The suit also claims Crumbley posted on Twitter: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. See you tomorrow Oxford.”

Throne wrote that Oxford was not aware of Crumbley's social media presence, or any rumored threatening posts.

An email to Fieger's office asking for comment on Throne's statement was not immediately returned.

The district has not yet fully addressed why officials did not do more to prevent Crumbley from returning to the classroom the day of the shooting. Crumbley reportedly drew a picture of a gun on his math homework, along with the words: "The thoughts won't stop. Help me."

When officials discovered the drawing, they questioned Crumbley with his parents, but he was eventually allowed to return to class. Later, he shot and killed four of his classmates and injured seven others in the school, according to law enforcement officials and Oakland County prosecutors.

Throne emphasized that the district will continue to investigate threats. High school students are expected back next week.

"We have always taken threats very seriously and will continue to listen to students and parents who report threats to the district," he wrote.

Contact Lily Altavena: laltavena@freepress.com or follow her on Twitter @LilyAlta.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Oxford district blasts Fieger lawsuit, disputes multiple claims