'Heartless' photo sparks outrage days after fatal school shooting

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  • Thomas Massie
    American politician

A Republican congressman has sparked outrage after posting a photo online of his family posing with firearms, just days after America recorded its deadliest school shooting since 2018.

Thomas Massie posted the photo of his family smiling, each holding a gun in front of the Christmas tree to Twitter, captioning it: "Merry Christmas! ps. Santa, please bring ammo.”

Mr Massie was slammed for his "disrespectful" photo, many people calling the Kentucky congressman out for posting it just days after teenager Ethan Crumbley allegedly killed four students during a shooting at a Michigan high school.

Screenshot from Twitter of the photo Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie posted showing his family in front of a Christmas tree holding guns.
Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie posted the photo to Twitter. Source: Twitter

"A city is still reeling from the latest mass shooting but feel free to remind us how much you love your guns," one person furiously wrote.

"Great message there, right after the Crumbleys attitude about guns resulted in 4 kids being gunned down and 7 more in the hospital," another said.

"You realise Ethan was caught "looking for ammo", and his mom joked about it, right? RIGHT? How to show the world you don't care about life."

Another called him "heartless".

Fred Guttenberg, an activist against gun violence whose daughter Jaime was killed in the 2018 Parkland school shooting, responded to Mr Massie's tweet with a poignant message.

“@RepThomasMassie, since we are sharing family photos, here are mine,” he tweeted.

“One is the last photo that I ever took of Jaime, the other is where she is buried because of the Parkland school shooting," he wrote, alongside a photo of Jaime and her gravestone.

The Michigan school shooter and his family used to take photos like yours as well.”

Another user posted a photo of the four students killed in Tuesday’s shooting, writing: “Their parents would disagree.”

Parents charged with manslaughter after son's alleged school shooting

On Tuesday, suspected teenage gunman Ethan Crumbley allegedly opened fire at his high school in Michigan killing four students and injuring seven people, including a teacher.

Four counts of involuntary manslaughter against Jennifer and James Crumbley were filed on Friday (local time), for buying their son the weapon used in the shooting as a Christmas gift and failing to heed warning signs.

Appearing at a hearing by video link, they pleaded not guilty to the charges. Their appearance follows a manhunt for them, and they were eventually found hiding in a commercial building in Detroit.

Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; and Justin Shilling, 17 died in the tragic shooting. 

Ethan has been charged as an adult with 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.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said at a news conference that Ethan posted photos of the gun his father had purchased for him on social media, writing, "Just got my new beauty today" with a heart emoji.

The next day, his mother wrote they were "testing out his new Christmas present," on social media.

“While the shooter was the one who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there are other individuals who contributed to the events on November 30, and it’s my intent to hold them accountable as well," Ms McDonald told reporters.

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