News Roundup

The nation was again confronted with the recurring tragedy of a school shooting when a 15-year-old sophomore at a Michigan high school killed four of his peers and seriously injured seven others.  USA Today says that there have been at least 21 shootings in American schools since August.  Keep reading for more on this story and other news.

Michigan.  As the Detroit Free Press reports, Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder and terrorism after fatally shooting four fellow students at Oxford High School.  Rumors of possible violence at the school had been circulating among students prior to the shooting according to some news reports, and Crumbley’s parents were brought in for a face-to-face meeting with school officials on the morning of the incident.

The Detroit Free Press report says that Crumbley had made social media posts suggestive of violence, including a post of the handgun he later would use.  That gun seemingly had been purchased by Crumbley’s father last Friday, and prosecutors have said they are considering whether to file criminal charges against his parents.  At least 60 other schools in Michigan were closed at some point this week because of copycat threats.

Rittenhouse Acquitted.  Since the last News Roundup there have been developments in several high-profile criminal cases around the country, including the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teenager who fatally shot two people last summer while acting as a vigilante property guard during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The jury deliberated for four days in a case that immediately generated sharply divided opinions on culpability and set off intense national debate over issues of self-defense and the constitutional right to bear arms.  Rittenhouse testified at trial that he was defending himself from having his rifle turned against him when he fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum, who had run at Rittenhouse and threatened him.  After that shooting, Anthony Huber chased Rittenhouse and hit him with a skateboard before Rittenhouse fatally shot Huber in the chest.  The third person Rittenhouse shot, Gaige Grosskreutz, was himself armed with a handgun when Rittenhouse shot him in the arm.

Arbery Verdict.  Another closely watched case that reached a verdict since the last News Roundup is the murder trial of three white men in Georgia who chased and killed a black man, Ahmaud Arbery, as he ran through their neighborhood.  Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William Bryan pursued Arbery in their vehicles to purportedly make a citizen’s arrest based on their suspicion that he was engaged in criminal activity.  Upon cornering him, Travis McMichael fatally shot Arbery with a shotgun.

Maxwell Trial.  Trial began in New York this week for Ghislaine Maxwell who prosecutors say was Jeffrey Epstein’s partner in a years-long sex trafficking scheme involving underage girls.  Maxwell’s defense attorneys have argued that she is being prosecuted as a scapegoat for Epstein, who killed himself in pretrial detention in 2019.