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Entries in Chardon High School (9)

Wednesday
Mar202013

How Ohio School Killer TJ Lane Snuck 'Killer' T-Shirt Past Authorities

ABC News(CHARDON, Ohio) -- Chardon school shooter TJ Lane likely got up in the middle of the night before his sentencing to scrawl the word "killer" across a prison T-shirt, a brazen move that shocked his attorney, victims' families and even the judge, according to the Geauga County Sheriff's Office.

After the convicted killer arrived in court for his sentencing hearing on Tuesday, he unbuttoned his blue button down shirt to reveal the T-shirt. There were gasps in the courtroom.

Shortly after, Lane, 18, spewed vile and unprintable words at the families of three students he killed, gave them the finger and then laughed and smiled as they described him as an animal and a monster.

Lt. John Hiscox, Jr. of the Geauga County Sheriff's Office said that inmates at the jail are allowed to have three t-shirts, underwear and socks in their room. They also have pliable rubber pens for writing letters and filling out commissary forms.

"What the sheriff thinks happened is in the middle of the night, prior to him going up to court, he had taken one of his T-shirts and wrote the word on it, put the T-shirt on under his jail uniform," Hiscox said.

Inmates wear street clothes to hearings, Hiscox said, so Lane's clothes were brought to the jail, checked and put in a changing room.

"Then they're patted down as they're being put in the back of the cruiser, but no one would have seen the writing on the shirt because it's already now concealed under his shirt for court," the lieutenant said. "Everybody in the whole courtroom was completely taken aback by that. No one in a million years would have guessed that that would happen."

Hiscox said that the shirt and Lane's statement both showed a "total disrespect" for the victims and their families.

"It was probably one of the ugliest things I've ever witnessed," he said.

Lane was waiting for a bus to an alternative school when he killed three students during a Feb. 27, 2012 rampage at Chardon High School. Daniel Parmertor, 16, Demetrius Hewlin, 16, and Russell King Jr., 17, died in the attack. Three other students were injured.

Lane chuckled when the judge sentenced him to three life terms in prison with no chance for parole.

Lane was transferred today to Lorain Correctional Institution in Grafton, Ohio. The state will decide at what prison he will serve out his three life sentences from there.

When asked if Lane could be punished in any way for the T-shirt, Hiscox said, "It's pretty hard to punish somebody when you just gave somebody three life sentences."

Geauga County Common Pleas Court Judge David Fuhry released a statement saying that he did not notice the T-shirt in the courtroom since Lane was seated for the sentencing aside from when the judge entered the chamber.

"Had the court noticed the shirt, the court would have immediately stopped the proceedings, adjourned the court and the court would have ordered the defendant to put on proper attire," the judge's statement said, according to ABC News' Cleveland affiliate WEWS.

In regards to Lane's verbal statement, the judge wrote, "However disgusting it may be, the defendant has a right to make a statement at sentencing."

Lane's attorney Ian Friedman was also stunned by the vulgarity.

"I think everyone in that courtroom was shocked," Friedman told WEWS. "It was something that was not expected and something that I hope no one ever has to experience again."

Friedman expressed his sympathy for the victims and their families, saying that it was "painful" to be in courtroom, even as a defense attorney with a job to do.

"I've stood in a lot of emotional courts, but this specific act and turning to the families of the deceased like that with a message similar to that, I have not seen that before," he said

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar022012

Friends Say Ohio Shooter Knew Victims

David Dermer/Getty Images(CHARDON, Ohio) -- One of the teenagers killed by alleged school shooter T.J. Lane was dating Lane's ex-girlfriend, students at the school told ABC News.

A group of friends close to Lane's former girlfriend told ABC News that the girl had dated Lane, and that after they broke up, she began seeing one of the victims, Russell King Jr.  Lane felt forgotten after the couple broke up, one of the students said.

"She saw something she liked in him [Lane] that others didn't see," one student told ABC News. After dating Lane, she and King started to date on and off, but the relationship became more serious in recent months, the friends said.

King, 17, was one of five high school students shot in a rampage at Chardon High School on Monday by accused shooter T.J. Lane. Three students-- King, Demetrius Hewlin and Daniel Parmertor--died from their wounds.

Another wounded student, Joy Rickers, 18, has been released from the hospital and Nick Walczak, 17, remains hospitalized. The group of friends told ABC News that Lane also knew these students.

The version of events offered by the students suggest a motive behind the lethal shooting spree and contrasts with what the prosecutor has said.

Prosecutor David Joyce alleged at Lane's first court appearance that Lane "did not know the students, but chose them randomly." The prosecutor added, "This is not about bullying. This is not about drugs. This is someone who is not well."

A group of Chardon High School students close to Lane's ex-girlfriend said that King was the girl's current boyfriend and that Lane went right for him when he opened fire in the school's cafeteria.

The friends said they do not believe the shooting victims were chosen "randomly," as investigators have said.

King often told his friends that he loved the girl and was crazy about her, the group told ABC News. He allegedly made derogatory jokes about Lane, calling him names and threatening to beat him up, they said.

Lane reportedly said he was going to learn how to fight so that he could take on King. He was a thin, small teenager, but had been building up over the past year by lifting weights. Facebook photos showed a shirtless and muscular Lane posing for the camera.

Nate Mueller, who was sitting at the table with the victims the day of the shooting, told ABC News that when the firing began he turned to see Lane standing at his table and saw him take his second shot.

"That shot I saw TJ take had hit Russell [King] and he was over the table in a pool of blood, and Demetrius [Hewlin] was on the floor in a puddle of blood next to him," Mueller said. "Nick [Walczak] had not been hit yet as I jumped over him."

Mueller said Walczak, who was later determined to have been shot several times, was on the floor trying to crawl away and that he felt a bullet graze his ear. He did not get seriously injured, but has a small red mark on his ear.

The friends of the girlfriend told ABC News that the students all knew each other, which contradicts what family members of the victims have said.

"Danny had no relationship with that kid," victim Daniel Parmertor's father Ron Parmertor said at a news conference on Thursday.

Lane has been charged with three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar022012

Chardon High School Reopens After Shooting

David Dermer/Getty Images(CHARDON, Ohio) -- Chardon High School will reopen its doors to students on Friday, four days after suspected gunman T.J. Lane went on a shooting rampage that forced the Ohio school to shut down.

Monday's attack left three students -- Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King Jr. and Daniel Parmertor -- dead and two others wounded.

Before he could do more damage, Lane was chased out of the building by assistant football coach Frank Hall.  Lane later turned himself in to a passerby and has since been charged with murder.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Hall said he is not a hero, "just a football coach and a study hall teacher."

"I don't know why this happened, I only wish I could have done more," he said.

Hall told the families of the three fallen students that he "was with them."

"I prayed with them.  I wiped their tears.  And I know God was with them," he said.

Previewing Friday's opening, Hall noted, "Our teachers will be there. Our administration will be there. Our parents and community. But more importantly, our children will be there."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar022012

Ohio School Shooting Survivor Has Bullets in Cheek and Neck

ABC News(CHARDON, Ohio) -- Ohio school shooting survivor Nick Walczak is partially paralyzed with bullets lodged in his cheek and neck, but doctors are "cautiously optimistic" that he will walk again, the teen's mother said Thursday.

Walczak, 17, was one of five high school students shot in a rampage at Chardon High School on Monday by accused shooter T.J. Lane, who has been charged with murder.  Three students -- Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King Jr. and Daniel Parmertor -- died from their wounds.

Another wounded student, Joy Rickers, has been released from the hospital.  Walczak remains hospitalized.

Walczak's mother Holly Walczak told a news conference that she believes her son was shot four times: twice in the neck, through the arm and in the back.  His brother previously told ABC News that Nick Walczak had no feeling below his chest.

"He has a bullet still in his cheek and his neck," Holly Walczak said.  "He's just getting feeling back in his legs.  It's going to be a really slow process, they said.  He's going to need spine therapy.  The surgeon said they're cautiously optimistic."

Nick Walczak went into spinal shock after the shooting, but doctor's hope he will be able to walk again.

"He's strong, he's brave and his age really makes a big difference.  I know he can do it," his mother said.

She said her son has been conscious throughout the ordeal and knows that his friends have died.

"We really try not to talk about it at this point.  It's a little too traumatic for him," she said.  "It's kind of a blur, at this point."

Holly Walczak spoke at a news conference along with the families of Hewlin and Parmertor and mentioned the guilt she feels since her son survived the attack.

"The families that have had the losses...it's a guilty [feeling] for me because they lost and my son was saved.  I think that's the hardest part for me.  I feel for them every minute, every hour," she said.

The mom credits teacher Joseph Ricci for saving her son's life by dragging him into another room after he was shot and caring for him until paramedics arrived.

"He is the person that saved my son's life.  He pulled him from the hallway into a room.  He is forever our hero," Walczak said.  "He's remarkable.  I can't believe it.  Nick would be the fourth victim, otherwise."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar012012

Ohio School Shooting: Slain Student's Parents Forgive Suspected Shooter

ABC News(CHARDON, Ohio) -- The parents of Ohio school shooting victim Demetrius Hewlin said on Wednesday they forgive suspected gunman T.J. Lane for shooting their son.

"I don't know what [his] final moments were like, but I can't worry about it," Hewlin's mother Phyllis Ferguson told ABC News in an exclusive interview.  "You have to accept things done and move on."

When asked what she would say to the suspected shooter, Ferguson said, "I would tell him I forgive him because, a lot of times, they don't know what they're doing.  That's all I'd say."

"I taught Demetrius not to live in the past, to live in today and forgiveness is divine.  You have to forgive everything.  God's grace is new each and every day," she said.  "Until you've walked in another person's shoes, you don't know what made him come to this point."

Hewlin was one of three teens killed following a deadly shooting rampage at Chardon High School on Monday.

Ferguson described her son as a "huggy, kissy boy" who was a "computer nerd," liked to read and did not like getting up early.  Hewlin was good friends with Russell King Jr., 17, and Daniel Parmertor, 16, the other two teens who died after the shooting spree.  His stepfather Tim Ferguson remembered playing pee-wee football with the boys.

"He wasn't a morning person and he was late for school.  But that one day he wasn't late," Hewlin's mom said.  "We were running a little late, but we weren't late enough.  But it's okay.  It's in God's hands.  Let his will be done."

The parents said they are honoring Hewlin's wishes by having his organs donated.

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The other two teen victims of the shooting are similarly being remembered and mourned.  Hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil in the tight-knit town of Chardon on Wednesday night to remember the three teenagers who died and to pray for the other two students who were injured.

Nick Walczak, 17, is still at Hillcrest Hospital and student Joy Rickers, 18, has been sent home.

Walczak's brother, Josh, told ABC News that Nick is paralyzed from the chest down, but the family hopes that is a temporary condition.

"My brother, he's still in serious condition, still no feeling from the mid chest down although he said he felt a twitch in his left calf the other night which is clearly a good sign," Josh Walczak said.

He said his brother is "suffering from spinal shock, which isn't complete damage, but you know he's recovering."

Nick Walczak will be released from the hospital, but Josh said, "He pretty much has to relearn how to walk."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb292012

Ohio High School Shooting: Student Suspect to Be Tried as Adult

David Dermer/Getty Images(CHARDON, Ohio) -- Hundreds of people gathered at a church in Chardon, Ohio, Tuesday night to mourn and pray for the victims of the shooting at Chardon High School, where three students have died and two remain hospitalized.

Prosecutors told ABC News that they plan to charge the alleged shooter, T.J. Lane, as an adult.  The 17-year-old now stands accused of murdering three students that he "chose randomly," according to a prosecutor.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich attended the church gathering on Tuesday, where he spoke to the mourners about standing together after a horrible tragedy.

"It's all about love.  It's about reaching out to people who you never thought about reaching out to before.  It's about making everyone feel special for who they are," Kasich told the mourners.

One of Lane's own friends who witnessed the shooting, ABC News has learned, posted a message on Facebook about his friend.

"I wanted so bad to try and help you but i could see in your eyes you didn't care anymore. I'm sorry buddy," the posting read.

Russell King and Demetrius Hewlin, students wounded in Monday's shooting, died Tuesday morning, officials said, while Nick Walczak remains hospitalized and Joy Rickers has been released from the hospital.

Another victim, identified by MetroHealth Hospital as Daniel Parmertor, died from the wounds on Monday, hours after being shot.

Lane made his first appearance in juvenile court on Tuesday.  The judge did not allow the accused to be shown on camera, and the prosecutor did not provide a motive for the lethal shooting spree.

However, at a news conference shortly after the court hearing, prosecutor David Joyce said, "This is not about bullying.  This is not about drugs.  This is someone who is not well."

"[Lane] confessed to taking the pistol and admitted he went into the cafeteria and shot 10 rounds," Joyce said.  "[He said he] did not know the students, but chose them randomly."

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Ohio School Shooter Chose Victims 'Randomly,' Prosecutor Says

Geauga County prosecutor David Joyce stands before Judge Timothy Grendell in the hearing for shooter T.J. Lane on February 28. ABC News(CHARDON, Ohio) -- The teenager who allegedly killed three students and wounded two others when he shot up his Ohio school cafeteria did not know his victims and "chose them randomly," a prosecutor said Tuesday.

The statement was made during suspect T.J. Lane's first appearance in juvenile court Tuesday.

During the appearance, the judge did not allow Lane to be shown on camera and the prosecutor did not provide a motive for the lethal shooting spree.

But at a news conference shortly after the court hearing, prosecutor David Joyce said, "This is not about bullying. This is not about drugs. This is someone who is not well."

"[Lane] confessed to taking the pistol and admitted he went into the cafeteria and shot 10 rounds," Joyce said. "[He said he] did not know the students, but chose them randomly."

The prosecutor alleged that Lane, 17, went to Chardon High School with a .22 caliber handgun and a knife. He shot four students in the cafeteria and one in the hallway before leaving the school. He was detained by police within a mile of the school.

Lane has not yet been charged, but Joyce said he expected Lane to be charged with three counts of aggravated murder. Joyce also said that he will "absolutely" want to try Lane as an adult.

Lane's grandfather and two aunts sat beside him in court.

Joyce asked that Lane be kept in detention and his attorney did not object, so the judge ordered Lane to be taken to a detention facility.

"T.J. Lane will remain in detention during proceedings due to serious nature of allegations and charges," Judge Timothy Grendell said.

Three victims have died, Nick Walczak remains in the hospital and Joy Rickers has been released from the hospital.

Russell King and Demetrius Hewlin, students wounded in Monday's shooting, died Tuesday morning, officials said.

"We are very saddened by the loss of our son and others in our Chardon community," Hewlin's family said in a statement. "Demetrius was a happy young man who loved life and his family and friends. We will miss him very much but we are proud that he will be able to help others through organ donation."

They added, "We ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."

Earlier Tuesday, King, 17, was pronounced brain dead at 12:42 a.m. at Ohio's MetroHealth Medical Center, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office. At 4:49 a.m., police were informed that King had "passed."

Another victim, identified by MetroHealth Hospital as Daniel Parmertor, died from the wounds on Monday, hours after being shot.

The Chardon Police Department released four 911 calls Tuesday with people reporting multiple gunshots at the school.

Classes were canceled for all schools in the district Tuesday.

The school superintendent announced Tuesday that a Chardon Healing Fund has been started and that all money donated will be used to help those that have been impacted. A total of $150,000 has already been donated to the fund.

Chardon is a village in Geauga County, about 35 miles east of Cleveland.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Ohio High School Gunman Identified

David Dermer/Getty ImagesUPDATE: The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed early Tuesday morning that a second student has died from the shooting.

(CHARDON, Ohio) -- The teenage gunman who opened fire at Chardon High School in Ohio, killing two and wounding three on Monday, has been identified as T.J. Lane, according to a fellow student and witness, and ABC News' Cleveland affiliate WEWS.

Lane's alleged fusillade of bullets left "friends laying all over the place" in puddles of blood, one student told ABC News.

Nate Mueller, a junior at the school, was having breakfast with three friends at the cafeteria when he heard a loud pop like a firecracker about 7:45 a.m., he told ABC News.

A friend yelled, "Duck!" and Mueller said he turned to see fellow student Lane standing by his table.  Mueller said Lane took a second shot, at which time Mueller saw a friend get hit.

"He was over the table in a pool of blood," he said, adding that another pal "was on the floor in a puddle of blood next to him."

A third friend "had not been hit yet as I jumped over him," Mueller said.

Mueller got on the floor and was trying to crawl away when a shot rang out and he felt a bullet graze his ear.  He was not badly injured, he said, with just a small red mark left on his ear.

"It was terror.  Everything had just gone tunnel vision, like, I need to get out of here," Mueller said.  "You see glances of your friends laying all over the place.  There's blood, there's people screaming, everybody's just running in different directions and you're just trying to get out.  That's all you can do, get out of the school and not look back even though your friends are back there."

Two students were taken by ambulance to Hillcrest Hospital and three were taken by helicopter to MetroHealth Hospital, according to WEWS.

A student identified by MetroHealth Hospital as Daniel Parmertor died from his wounds.  His family released the following statement through the hospital:

"We are shocked by this senseless tragedy.  Danny was a bright young boy who had a bright future ahead of him.  The family is torn by this loss.  We ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."

On Tuesday, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office announced that another student at MetroHealth had died.  He has been identified as Russell King Jr.

The remaining student at MetroHealth Hospital is in critical condition, according to police.  Of the two students at Hillcrest Hospital, one is in stable condition and one is in serious condition.

Police have not officially identified Lane as the gunman, saying only that the shooter has not yet been charged and that he is a juvenile.

He is being held at Geauga County Safety Center, according to WEWS.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb272012

Chardon High School Shooting Left 'Friends Laying All Over the Place'

David Dermer/Getty Images(CHARDON, Ohio) -- One student has died and four were wounded in a fusillade of bullets at Chardon High School in Ohio on Monday morning in an attack that left "friends laying all over the place" in puddles of blood. The gunman was identified as a student at the school by survivors of the shooting.

Nate Mueller, a junior at the school, was having breakfast with three friends when he heard a loud pop like a firecracker about 7:45 a.m., he told ABC News.

A friend yelled, "Duck!" and Mueller turned to see the shooter standing by his table. Mueller said he saw the gunman take his second shot.

Mueller said he saw one friend get hit. "He was over the table in a pool of blood," he said. Another pal "was on the floor in a puddle of blood next to him," Mueller said.

A third friend "had not been hit yet as I jumped over him," Mueller said.

Mueller got on the floor and was trying to crawl away when a shot rang out and he felt a bullet graze his ear. He was not badly injured, he said, with just a small red mark left on his ear.

"It was terror. Everything had just gone tunnel vision, like, I need to get out of here," Mueller said. "You see glances of your friends laying all over the place. There's blood, there's people screaming, everybody's just running in different directions and you're just trying to get out. That's all you can do, get out of the school and not look back even though your friends are back there."

Two students were taken by ambulance to Hillcrest Hospital and three were taken by helicopter to MetroHealth Hospital, according to WEWS.

One student died from the wounds. Two at MetroHealth Hospital are in critical condition, according to police. Of the two students at Hillcrest Hospital, one is in stable condition and one is in serious condition.

Police have not officially identified the gunman, saying only that he has not yet been charged and that he is a juvenile.

The gunman opened fire with a handgun just before 8 a.m. in the school cafeteria where students were eating breakfast, authorities and witnesses said.

The shooter was chased out of the building by a teacher and later turned himself in to a passerby, authorities said.

The suspect is in custody at Geauga County Safety Center, according to ABC News Cleveland affiliate WEWS.

Chardon is a village in Geauga County, about 35 miles east of Cleveland, Ohio.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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