The parents of Ethan Crumbley, who is accused of killing four students at Oxford High School in Michigan, have been charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter.

Jennifer and James Crumbley were charged due to the issue of access to weapons. In a press conference on Friday, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said the couple purchased the handgun used in Tuesday's mass shooting, NPR reported.

The gun was reportedly bought at a local shop on Black Friday apparently as a Christmas gift for their son but stored it improperly.

McDonald said the parents did not inquire about the gun's whereabouts or inform the school that they had recently purchased a firearm for their son when they were called to a meeting Tuesday morning by school officials to discuss a disturbing drawing made by Ethan.

Ethan Crumbley was allowed to return to class after the meeting, and shortly afterward, he fatally shot four fellow students and wounded seven others, including a teacher.

McDonald said the charges against Ethan's parents were intended "to hold the individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable." It was also to send a message that gun owners have a responsibility.

"When they (gun owners) fail to uphold that responsibility, there are serious and criminal consequences," McDonald noted.

The Oakland County Sheriff's Office said law enforcement authorities in Michigan were already searching for Jennifer and James Crumbley after the charges were announced. Authorities released images of the Crumbleys and details of their vehicle in an alert urging the public to help locate the couple.

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Search For the Parents of Michigan School Mass Shooting Suspect

As of Friday afternoon, authorities said the whereabouts of Ethan Crumbley's parents were not known. It prompted law enforcement to launch a manhunt for the couple with the Oakland County fugitive apprehension team.

In a statement, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said the action of fleeing and ignoring their attorney certainly adds weight to the charges.

Bouchard told CNN that a huge effort was being put into finding the couple. He said they do not know if the Crumbleys were armed but warned the public not to approach them, The Guardian reported.

"I think it would be unlikely (that they are armed) but we're not going to take that chance. We're going to go get them," he noted.

But a lawyer representing Crumbley's parents told the Associated Press that the couple had not fled but left town for their own safety.

Lawyer Shannon Smith said the Crumbleys would return to face arraignment but did not say when they would appear in court.

McDonald did not say whether prosecutors were considering charges against other parties, including school officials, who allowed Ethan Crumbley to return to class. She only said that the investigation was ongoing.

Ethan Crumbley Charged Over Michigan School Mass Shooting

Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including one count of terrorism and four counts of first-degree murder, which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison, for the mass shooting at Oxford High School in Oakland County on Tuesday.

The semi-automatic 9-millimeter Sig Sauer handgun used in the shooting was reportedly an early Christmas gift to the 15-year-old boy from his parents. 

The New York Times reported that Ethan and his mom spent a day testing out the gun after it was bought, and it was stored unlocked in his parents' bedroom.

A day before the shooting, a teacher reported seeing Ethan searching online for ammunition, but his mom did not seem alarmed.

Jennifer reportedly texted her son that she's not mad at him and told his son that he "have to learn not to get caught."

McDonald said the Crumbleys were also responsible for the Michigan school mass shooting as they allowed their son access to a gun while ignoring warnings that he was on the edge of violence.

Ethan's parents were called to Oxford High School after one of his teachers found an alarming note on the teen's desk. The note reportedly contained a drawing of a semi-automatic handgun and a bullet. Above that bullet were the words: "Blood everywhere."

"The thoughts won't stop. Help me," "My life is useless," and "The world is dead" were also found written in the note with a laughing emoji.

As shown in a surveillance video, Crumbley came out of the bathroom with the semi-automatic handgun that was in his backpack and then fired the gun "methodically" but seemed to be targeting people at random, authorities said.

According to the prosecutors, Jennifer texted her son when the news about the shooting had spread, saying "Ethan don't do it." Prosecutors noted that James called 911 to say that a weapon was missing from his son and that his son could be the gunman.

Police noted that Ethan Crumbley had fired at least 30 rounds in those five minutes of shooting, with 18 rounds remaining in his handgun when he surrendered.

Tate Myre, 16; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; and Hana St. Juliana, 14, were pronounced dead at the scene. Meanwhile, 17-year-old Justin Shilling died in a hospital the next day. Six more students were injured and a teacher.

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Written by: Mary Webber

WATCH: Live: Michigan Prosecutor Announces Charges Against Ethan Crumbley's Parents in School Shooting - From The Independent