OHIO SCHOOL SHOOTING (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) — Five students were shot Monday when a teen opened fire inside an Ohio high school cafeteria, three of those students are now dead.
The shooting occurred at around 7:30 a.m. when students were just beginning their day. The five victims were all sitting at a table together, all knew the shooter.
The shooting has, once again, rocked the nation and left teens across the country fearing – could their school be next?
The shooting took place at Chardon High School. About 100 students were in the cafeteria when 17-year-old T.J. Lane pulled out his gun and from about two feet opened fire on the small group of students. He admitted in court Tueday that he fired 10 shots with a .22-caliber pistol Monday morning.
Students said Lane knew his victims. However, in court Tuesday Lane told the judge he did not know his victims and chose them randomly, a prosecutor said.
Several of the students shot were waiting for transportation to Lake Academy Alternative School. The school’s website says Lake Academy handles students with a variety of issues including substance abuse/chemical dependency, anger issues, mental health issues, truancy, delinquency, difficulties with attention/organization, and academic deficiencies. Lane also attended Lake Academy.
Students said after Lane had shot five people he was chased out of the building by the school’s assistant football coach, Frank Hall, who has been deemed a hero. Students tweeted that fellow teacher Joseph Ricci joined Hall in chasing Lane out of the building. Authorities used a K-9 unit to track down Lane, who was found by his car. He was arrested at the scene without incident.
The first victim, Daniel Parmertor, 16, was reported brain-dead Monday. Russell King, Jr., 17, died just after midnight Tuesday, and Demetrius Hewlin, whose age has not yet been disclosed, died sometime Tuesday morning.
The Daily Mail reports the suspect tweeted he would bring a gun to school but was not taken seriously. He also posted a threatening letter on Facebook two months earlier.
It was reported that the gunman was an “outcast” and was “bullied.” Some students claim that’s an inaccurate description of Lane and said he was just quiet. Russell, who died Tuesday, was reportedly dating Lane’s ex-girlfriend. Police are not releasing the motive of the shooting and say they have a lot of work to do to figure out why this happened. They are hoping to get into the mind of the murderer to help ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Two others were injured. Joy Rickers, 18, remains in stable condition Tuesday at Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights. She is described as an artist and member of the Buckeye Retriever Club, a Geauga County group for dog owners.
Nicholas Wajczak, 17, is also at Hillcrest where he remains in serious condition with several gunshot wounds. Before the shooting he was studying alternative energy and was in pursuit of a career in environmental work, USA Today reports.
Tragedy affects students nationwide
The Ohio tragedy is affecting students nationwide, including students in Seattle who say they’re concerned something like that could happen at their school.
“You hear about these school shootings too much these days,” Seth J., a high school junior said Monday. “It’s like sometimes you sit in class and wonder about certain people and think ‘could he do something like that?’ Especially some of the kids who are bullied and quiet. Those are the ones I worry about the most because you don’t know what they’re thinking.”
School shouldn’t be a frightening place for students, but for many it is.
“I sometimes think that I’d be better off just taking online classes and staying home,” Danielle R. said Monday. She attends a high school in Southwest Washington.
“There are some kids who you see on the streets and wonder what they’re capable of. Also, it’s not all about shootings. It’s also all the kids who are committing suicide. My mom said when she went to school she never knew any kid who killed themselves. I go to a smallish high school in a pretty small town and I’m a Junior. I already know four kids who committed suicide just in our school and it’s insane. I knew all these kids.”
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