Police to question artist linked to studio where parents of Michigan school shooting suspect found

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Community gathers to remember students killed in deadly shooting, in Oxford, Michigan

By Dan Whitcomb

(Reuters) - Detectives plan to interview an artist connected to the Detroit studio where the parents of a 15-year-old accused Michigan school shooter were found following a manhunt, a local sheriff said on Sunday.

Andrzej Sikora, 65, will be questioned to determine what role, if any, he had in the disappearance of James and Jennifer Crumbley, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a written statement.

“We will vigorously investigate the totality of the situation so a determination can be made if there is any criminality or obstruction of justice involved,” Bouchard said. “Our findings will be presented to the prosecutor.”

An attorney representing Sikora, Clarence Dass, said in a statement to the Detroit Free Press that his client "maintains his innocence throughout this process and is fully cooperating with law enforcement to assist in their investigation.”

Ethan Crumbley, 15, was taken into custody on Tuesday following the shooting rampage at Oxford High School in suburban Oakland County, some 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Detroit. He is being held without bail and charged as an adult in the attack, the deadliest U.S. school shooting of 2021 https://www.reuters.com/world/us/deadly-michigan-school-shooting-baffles-police-young-suspect-keeps-silent-2021-12-01.

Four students were slain and seven other people, including a teacher, were wounded.

Police, FBI agents and the U.S. Marshals Service began searching for James Crumbley, 45, and Jennifer Crumbley, 43, after Oakland County prosecutors announced manslaughter charges against the couple.

They are accused of purchasing the handgun for their teenage son as an early Christmas present and then ignoring warning signs that he was planning a mass shooting at the high school.

Detroit Police Chief James White told reporters early on Saturday that the couple had been found hiding in a commercial building on the city's east side, the site of Sikora's art studio. White said they had not broken into the building, but had been let in by someone with access.

Dass said Sikora contacted the Oakland County Sheriff's Office following the Crumbleys' arrest.

“Mr. Sikora has not been charged with any crime. Nevertheless, upon learning of the Crumbleys’ arrest on December 4, 2021, he voluntarily contacted the Detroit Police Department and Oakland County Sheriff’s Office to provide information," Dass said in his written statement to the Free Press.

James and Jennifer Crumbley both pleaded not guilty to four counts of involuntary manslaughter at an arraignment on Saturday and were ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bail.

An attorney for the Crumbleys has said the couple were not attempting to flee law enforcement and had planned to turn themselves in.

A 14-year-old student wounded in the attack was released from a hospital on Sunday. One student remains hospitalized, listed in stable condition.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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