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Michigan school shooting: Teenager pleads guilty

A Michigan teenager accused of killing four students and injuring seven others in a high school shooting rampage has pleaded guilty to the charges.

Ethan Crumbley, 16, is being tried as an adult and is facing charges of terrorism and first-degree murder.

He was 15 when he opened fire at Oxford High School, around 30 miles north of Detroit, in November, 2021.

The gunman faces a possible life sentence without parole.

On Monday, Crumbley pleaded guilty in a Michigan court to 24 charges, including one count of terrorism, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm.

The terrorism charge is an unusual one in US school shooting cases. Prosecutors said they brought the charge forward to acknowledge the impact the shooting rampage had on the community at large.

The gunman agreed that on November 30, 2021, he packed a handgun and ammunition in his backpack and brought it to school.

He then loaded the firearm in the bathroom before firing more than 30 shots at staff and students in the school hallway.

Four students were killed in the shooting rampage: Tate Myre, 16, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Hana St Juliana, 14, and Justin Shilling, 17. Six other students and a teacher were wounded.

Prosecutors have argued the attack was “absolutely pre-meditated”, saying Crumbley had spoken about killing students the night before the shooting.

The gunman’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are also facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors have argued that they ignored warning signs of violence and did not store the gun their son used in a safe place. They have both pleaded not guilty.

Crumbley used a semi-automatic handgun that his father purchased for him as a Christmas gift four days before the shooting.

A recent BBC report says the case appears to be the first in the US in which the parents of a young school shooter have also been charged.

The gunman is expected to appear in court again in February, 2023, where victims of the shooting will have an opportunity to deliver impact statements. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date.

Writing by Omotola Oguneye; Editing by Tony Okerafor