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Thomas Michael "T. J." LANE III






The Chardon High School shooting
Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (17) - High School shooting - Lane never gave a motive for the rampage and showed no remorse in court
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: February 27, 2012
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: September 19, 1994
Victims profile: Daniel Parmertor, 16 / Russell King, Jr., 17 / Demetrius Hewlin, 16
Method of murder: Shooting (.22 caliber handgun)
Location: Chardon, Geauga County, Ohio, USA
Status: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced to three life sentences in prison without parole on March 19, 2013

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The Court of Appeals
Eleventh Appellate District
Geauga County, Ohio

State of Ohio v. Thomas M. Lane, III (0.1 Mb)

The Court of Common Pleas
Geauga County, Ohio

State's response to motion to suppress statements (1.1 Mb)


The Chardon High School shooting occurred on February 27, 2012, at Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio, United States. Three male students died within the two days following the incident. Two other students were hospitalized, one of whom sustained several serious injuries requiring extensive rehabilitation, and the other suffered a minor injury. The seriously injured victim has been declared permanently paralyzed. A sixth student sustained a superficial wound.

While rumors of a warning of the event having been posted on the Internet circulated, student witnesses identified the shooter as Thomas "T. J." Lane III, a 17 year-old juvenile. Although police were initially hesitant to publicly identify the juvenile after he was apprehended, by the evening of February 28, authorities confirmed that the suspect was Lane.

The weapon Lane used in the shooting was a .22 caliber handgun. At an initial court hearing, the prosecutor revealed that he admitted to shooting 10 rounds of ammunition from the gun during the shooting, which began in the school cafeteria at approximately 7:30 a.m., shortly after school began. Although Lane told police that he did not know the victims and that they were chosen randomly, witnesses stated that it appeared he targeted a specific student and the group he was sitting with in the cafeteria.

After the shooting occurred, Lane reportedly left the building. Witnesses stated he was chased from the building by a teacher, and was arrested a short time later in a location outside the school. Lane was ultimately indicted on three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated attempted murder, and one count of felonious assault. He was initially detained as a juvenile pending further court action.

Reaction to the event prompted a statement from Ohio Governor, John Kasich. Several prayer vigils were held and a fund for the victims was established. Thousands of people attended one of the vigils, at which the Governor spoke, the night after the attack. President Barack Obama gave his condolences to the school principal in a telephone call following the incident. Analysis of the crime and comparisons to similar attacks began immediately following the shooting.

Lane received three life sentences on March 19, 2013.

At 7:38 p.m. on September 11, 2014, Lane, along with two other inmates, Clifford Opperud and Lindsey Bruce, escaped from Allen Correctional Institution in Lima, Ohio. Bruce was captured shortly after the escape. At 1:20 a.m. on the next day, Lane was recaptured. Opperund was apprehended later that morning at 4:45 a.m.


The shooting began at approximately 7:30 a.m. (EST) in the Chardon High School cafeteria. A student witness said that the shooting began in the cafeteria before first period while students were eating breakfast. According to reports, a boy stood up and began shooting, causing chaos.

A surveillance video showed that Lane shot four male students in the cafeteria with a .22 caliber handgun. As he fled, Lane shot a female student, and was then chased out of the school by a teacher, football coach Frank Hall. Lane was arrested outside the school near his car on Woodin Road.

Initially, five students were hospitalized, three of whom later died. Two students, Joy Rickers and Nick Walczak, were taken to local Hillcrest Hospital, while Daniel Parmertor, Russell King, and Demetrius Hewlin were flown by helicopter to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. A sixth student, Nate Mueller, was superficially injured when a bullet grazed his right ear.


1. Daniel Parmertor, 16 (deceased)
2. Russell King, Jr., 17 (deceased)
3. Demetrius Hewlin, 16 (deceased)
4. Nate Mueller, 16 (minor injury to ear)
5. Nick Walczak, 17 (shot multiple times in his neck, arm, and back; a bullet also lodged in his cheek; paralyzed)
6. Joy Rickers, 18 (injured; released from hospital after approximately 24 hours)


At noon on February 27, Chardon Police Chief Tim McKenna announced in a news conference that one of the victims had died. The first deceased student was identified as Daniel Parmertor, a 16-year-old high school junior, by a spokeswoman for Cleveland's Metro Health Medical Center. His family issued a statement requesting that their privacy be respected. When Lane opened fire, Parmertor was in the cafeteria waiting for a bus to the Auburn Career Center vocational school in nearby Concord Township, where he studied computer science.

At 12:42 a.m. the next day, a second student, Russell King, Jr., 17, was pronounced brain dead at MetroHealth Medical Center. King, a junior, studied alternative energy technologies. He was enrolled at both Chardon High School and at the Auburn Career Center. King's family released a statement thanking the public for support and offering sympathy to the families of the other victims. They also said that his organs would be donated as he had wished.

A witness, Nate Mueller, said that King had recently started dating Lane's former girlfriend. Other student witnesses said that it appeared as if Lane was specifically aiming for King, indicating that he was the first to be shot. The students stated that King had previously threatened to beat Lane up. They told reporters that Lane had taken up weightlifting with the intention of fighting King.

On February 28, it was reported that Demetrius Hewlin, the third student who was transferred to MetroHealth, had died. His family also expressed their sorrow for their loss in a statement to the press. Friends of Hewlin said that he liked to work out and wanted to be on the football team. Hewlin's mother, Phyllis Ferguson, in an interview with ABC News said of her son, "He wasn't a morning person and he was late for school. But that one day he wasn't late. 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." When questioned about what she would say to the assailant, she said that she would forgive him, because most school shooters did not know what they were doing. She explained that her son's organs would be donated and that one of the recipients was a child who was within days of death without a transplant.

Other victims

One of the two injured students who had been transferred to Hillcrest Hospital, 17-year-old Nick Walczak, was shot several times, and one bullet lodged in his cheek. He was also shot in the arm, neck and back. As he entered rehabilitation a week later, in "fair condition", there were questions about whether he would be able to walk again. His mother said that he was going to require therapy on his spine to restore the feeling in his legs. Joy Rickers, 18, was released from Hillcrest Hospital on February 28. Nate Mueller, who was not hospitalized, was nicked in his right ear by a bullet. Mueller and Walczak, students of Auburn Career Center, were waiting with Parmertor and King for the bus that would transfer them to their school on the morning of the shooting.

Teacher actions

After the shooting, students referred to two teachers, Frank Hall and Joseph Ricci, as heroes. The Daily Beast reported that news of the men's "courageous actions" spread when students expressed thanks on Twitter; the reports indicated that Hall had charged the shooter despite the shooter pointing his gun at the coach. A student told reporters that Hall frequently spoke of how much he cared for the students, a feeling which was shown by his actions.

Meanwhile, Joe Ricci had just started his math class when he heard shots and ordered his students to "lockdown". According to a student witness, when Ricci heard moaning outside his classroom he put on a bulletproof vest, opened the door, dragged a wounded student, Nick Walczak, into the classroom and administered first aid. Walczak's family credits Ricci with saving his life. A student described the teachers as "two of the greatest leaders in our school."


Thomas Michael "T. J." Lane III (born September 19, 1994) was identified by authorities as the suspect late on February 27. The authorities were reluctant to release his name, since he was still a juvenile, but CBS News reported that by early afternoon law enforcement officials had surrounded a house belonging to Lane. According to Melanie Jones, writing for International Business Times, reports on the possibility of Lane's involvement led to great press interest, which the police initially deflected.

The authorities searched the home of the suspect's paternal grandparents in Chardon Township. Lane did not live there but would frequently visit on weekends. The residence, along with other properties owned by the Lane family, were searched extensively on the day of the shooting. A nearby forest, which neighbors said the Lane children used for target practice, was also combed.

At the time of the shooting, Lane was not taking classes at Chardon High School, but at Lake Academy, an alternative school in nearby Willoughby. The school, which is also known as the Lake County Educational Service Center, served 55 students in February 2012. They were referred there from public schools in the region because of academic or behavioral needs. Students who complete their educations at Lake Academy graduate with their classmates at the sending schools.

Witnesses said Lane appeared to be targeting students who were sitting together at one table. Four of the five victims who were sitting at that table were students at the Auburn Career Center. The bus Lane took from Chardon to Lake Academy was the same one the Auburn students took, but his stop was farther on the route. Lane also knew some of the victims from middle school.

There were rumors that there had been a warning about the shooting posted on Twitter. News agencies published excerpts from the Facebook profile of a boy named "T. J. Lane". The profile did not give a location but several of the user's friends were listed as being from Chardon. One entry in particular, dated December 30, 2011, caught attention, especially the last line, which read: "Die, all of you." According to a comment posted by Lane on January 20, 2012, he wrote the text in class.

Reactions of friends

A friend of Lane described him as "a very normal, just teenage boy". She also told CNN that she was in "complete shock" from the incident, and that Lane often had a sad look in his eyes, but came across as completely normal. Another friend said that Lane was regularly teased at school, which made Lane "put a wall around himself" and refused to divulge personal information. A third student told reporters that Lane had come from "a really broken-down home", and was a quiet person who could be nice to others if he felt comfortable with them.

Students at Lake Academy denied that he had been bullied. They described him as friendly and nice, but not very talkative.

The weapon

After Lane's arrest, law enforcement determined that the gun used in the shooting was purchased legally. Authorities said Lane had stolen the .22-caliber handgun from his uncle. The press reported that it was a Ruger MK III Target .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun. However, a neighbor who was close to the family said that it was a target revolver that belonged to the boy's grandfather. When asked how it was possible to fire as many as ten or more rounds from a revolver in quick succession, the neighbor had no explanation and eventually admitted that the revolver theory was probably not true after all. Reports were that the shooter dropped the gun as he fled from the scene. It was found inside the school and recovered by police. Lane also admitted to taking a knife into Chardon High School.

Suspect's prior offenses

On February 29, 2012, Tim Grendell, the juvenile court judge presiding over Lane's case, allowed the release of the suspect's juvenile records to the press. According to his records, Lane was arrested twice in December 2009. The first time, Lane restrained his uncle while his cousin hit him. The other case involved Lane hitting another boy in the face. To the second charge, Lane pled to a count of disorderly conduct.


On February 28, at 3:50 pm (EST), a detention hearing was held for the suspect at Geauga County Juvenile Court in Chardon. According to the LA Times, in the United States teenage suspects are generally treated as juveniles until prosecutors decide to charge them as adults. Judge Timothy J. Grendell began the proceeding by asking the media not to take photographs of the defendant until it was determined whether or not he would be tried as an adult. He immediately ruled that the defendant would remain in custody.

At the prosecutor's request, the judge directed that the attorneys involved in the case refrain from speaking to the media regarding the proceeding. He then outlined conditions under which the media could participate, including not taking any facial photographs of the defendant or his family. After hearing the prosecutor's argument for continuing the detention and receiving no objection, the judge ruled that detention, at the Portage-Geauga Juvenile Detention Center in Ravenna, Ohio, should continue for 15 days. The issues of arraignment and possible transfer to adult court were put off to future dates. The judge stated that the prosecution had until March 1, 2012, to file charges.

After the hearing, prosecutor David Joyce indicated that he would attempt to try Lane as an adult and file three counts of aggravated murder, among other charges, for the incident. It was revealed at the hearing that Lane admitted to shooting 10 rounds of ammunition during the incident. He also told the police that he did not know the victims and that they were selected randomly. However, a witness who said he knew the shooter indicated that Lane knew several of the victims.

Outside defense attorneys observing the hearing questioned if Lane's attorney was protecting his client's rights. First, a concern was raised that Lane's attorney agreed with the judge that the gag order would not go into effect until after the press conference that prosecutor Joyce held following the hearing. One lawyer explained that this exception to the order gave the prosecution the opportunity to announce the defendant's confession publicly, thus influencing the jury pool. A second concern regarded Joyce's statement at the conference that Lane "is someone who's not well." Ian Friedman, a criminal attorney and past president of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers said that such things are generally said by defense attorneys. Another attorney said that in this case, he would file a motion which would ensure that the juvenile's mental health would be evaluated before the case was brought to the adult court. As of March 1, 2012, Lane's defense had filed no motions.

On March 1, prosecutors formally charged Lane with three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated attempted murder, and one count of felonious assault. Lane did not enter a plea when he was arraigned on March 6. Two additional defense attorneys were assigned to the case in March, and the judge postponed the decision to try Lane as an adult until after a competency evaluation was completed. On April 9, Lane again appeared before Judge Grendell who set the date for a competency hearing for May 2. He also scheduled a hearing for May 12 to determine if the defendant be tried as an adult.

The competency evaluation might have been requested by either the prosecution or the defense. It was speculated by one observing attorney that the judge might have made the decision himself. According to Ohio law, "a child may be found competent only if able to grasp the seriousness of the charges, if able to understand the court proceedings, if able to aid in the defense and if able to understand potential consequences. The law says a child with a mental illness or an intellectual or developmental disability may not be found competent."

In June 2012, it was determined that Lane would be tried as an adult. He was indicted on the six charges that were filed earlier in March: three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of felonious assault. On June 8, he pled not-guilty to those charges. His bail was set at $1 million, and he was scheduled to be transferred from the juvenile detention center to county jail on June 18. However, on June 20, a motion was filed with the Geauga County Court of Common Pleas stating that if someone were to pay a $120 fee, he could remain in the Portage-Geauga County Juvenile Detention Center.

On February 26, 2013, Lane pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder and felonious assault.


On March 19, 2013, Lane was sentenced to three life sentences in prison without parole. After entering the courtroom, he took off his dress shirt to reveal a white T-shirt underneath which had the word "Killer" handwritten across the front. He smiled and smirked during the hearing. After being sentenced, Lane said to the victims' families and the courtroom, "This hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory. Fuck all of you", while giving the middle finger.

Community reaction

On the morning of the shooting, Ohio Governor John Kasich issued a statement in which he praised the Chardon Police and Geauga County Sheriff's office for their handling of the incident and pledged support to the community. The following day, Kasich ordered that the flag at the Ohio Statehouse, as well as all flags in Geauga County, be flown at half-staff.

In the wake of the event, officials closed all Chardon schools on February 28. The School Department provided counseling and scheduled a gradual return to school for the students, teachers and staff, with school resuming in full on Friday, March 2, 2012. On the night of February 27, there were several vigils held including one at Assembly of God Church. After it was suggested on Facebook, tens of thousands agreed to wear red, one of Chardon High School's school colors, on February 28 in support of the school. The United Way set up The Chardon Healing Fund to help those traumatized by the shooting. The fund had already acquired $150,000 by the time its creation was announced on February 28.

In the evening of the day following the attack, thousands of people attended a vigil at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Chardon, where a funeral mass was scheduled for victim Daniel Parmertor, to take place the following weekend. As on February 28, people in attendance wore red. Chardon High School Principal Andy Fetchik spoke to rally the student body and encourage them to help each other during the healing process, while Kasich encouraged Chardon residents to support those who had lost loved ones. The following day, President Barack Obama telephoned Fetchik and expressed his condolences for the death of the students, saying that both he and First Lady Michelle Obama were praying for the high school community.

Students return to school

On March 2, 2012, the students entering the building received a warm welcoming. A student from West Geauga High School, her mother, and neighbor organized the "Line Up At Chardon" event via Facebook. They welcomed the students of Chardon high school back into the school building with a giant sign that says "I'll Stand By You" referencing the song by The Pretenders. More than 100 kids from the surrounding school districts, including West Geauga, came to show support. Also, the students of Chardon High School and their parents attended a "walk through" of the school. The senior class officers organized a procession from Chardon Square to the school that morning. The organizers invited participation in the three-quarter-mile walk on Facebook; the day before the activity, over 225 students had shown interest in participating.

Classes resumed the next day. The cafeteria, where the shooting took place, was repainted and reorganized. The table where most of the victims were sitting at the time of the attack remained in place, however, as "a counterpoint to the way the other tables are arranged". The table was covered with flowers and stuffed animals.

Funerals and protest

On March 2, 2012, WEWS-TV reported that Fred Phelps, Jr., whose father founded the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), had posted on Twitter that the WBC was planning to "street-preach" about the Ohio shooting "regarding God's hand, judgments and vengeance in this affair." Another Twitter post from a member of the church said the group would protest Daniel Parmertor's funeral. In response, Chardon resident Alex Pavlick sent out a request on Facebook for people to join him in forming a barricade around St. Mary's Church, where the funeral was to be held on March 3, if the WBC showed up to protest. He wrote that he wanted to ensure the funeral was not ruined by "a group of extremists." By the time the story was posted on the television station's web site, 1600 people had agreed to join Alex in his counter-protest. The day of the funeral, the television station reported that a human barricade consisting of thousands had readied, but the WBC protestors did not come.

Three days after Parmertor's funeral, Demetrius Hewlin's funeral was held, also at St. Mary's. Members of four motorcycle clubs, including the Patriot Guard Riders participated as part of the honor guard. The Patriot Guard was formed specifically to counter-demonstrate at funerals which are protested by the Westboro Baptist Church.

2014 escape from prison

On September 11, 2014, Lane escaped from Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution in Lima, Ohio, along with two other inmates at 7:38 p.m. 33-year-old Lindsey Bruce was quickly captured afterwards. Lane and the other inmate, identified as 45-year-old Clifford Opperud of Carlisle, Ohio, who was serving a twelve-year sentence for aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and kidnapping, remained at large. Police conducted searches at a wooded area and a residential neighborhood near the prison, and considered him and Opperud as "potentially armed and dangerous". Nearby residents were advised to lock their doors and stay inside their homes. Dina Parmertor, Daniel Parmertor's mother, reacted to the escape, saying, "I'm disgusted that it happened. I'm extremely scared and panic stricken. I can't believe it." The three inmates escaped using a makeshift ladder to scale a fence during recreation hours. At 1:20 a.m. of the next day, Lane was captured near the woods, followed by Opperud over three hours later. Chardon High School was closed that same day and counselors were made available to students and staff. Later in the day, Lane, Opperud, and Bruce were transferred to the super-maximum security Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown, Ohio.

Media comparison

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence called the Chardon shooting "the deadliest high-school shooting in the U.S. since 2005". In that year, seven people were killed at Red Lake Senior High School in Minnesota. The Christian Science Monitor published an article that compared the attack at Chardon with other similar events such as the Columbine High School massacre. The article said that since the incident at Columbine, the occurrences of "student-initiated shootings" were in decline, pointing out that in the 2009–10 school year there were 33 school-related violent deaths. This was the lowest number of such deaths since the 2002–03 school year, the highest being the 2006–07 school year, in which there were 66 deaths from school violence. Suggesting that Columbine was a catalyst for attention to school shootings, the article's author wrote that heightened awareness of the problem may be responsible for the decline.

The Monitor article included information from Kenneth Trump, the president of a school safety consulting firm. Trump noted that recent school shootings often involved "a lone shooter who may not have given many indicators of what he is planning, undiagnosed and untreated mental health issues," and were more difficult to detect due to "ballooning social media" masking the warning signs. He went on to explain that often indicators of these attacks appear on Twitter and Facebook. He added that there were several factors which could lead to an increase in school shootings, such as too much emphasis on bullying [as a cause], untreated mental illnesses, lower funding for school safety programs and training, and a possible complacency in students and administrators.


'You're a disgusting human being': Ohio school shooter taunts his victims' families by wearing a 'KILLER' T-shirt in court before judge jails him for life for gun massacre

  • TJ Lane, 18, pleaded guilty to gunning down three Chardon High School students and wounding three others In February 2012

  • Lane never gave a motive for the rampage and showed no remorse in court

March 19, 2013

An Ohio teenager charged with shooting dead three students at a local school was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without parole, but not before sparking nationwide outrage and condemnation with his despicable courtroom antics.

Judge David Fuhry sentenced TJ Lane to life in prison without parole on each of three aggravated murder charges.

Lane's attorney Ian Friedman told the court during a sentencing hearing Tuesday that Lane did not wish his defense team to present any witnesses, statements or other evidence to mitigate his sentence.

The 18-year-old entered the courtroom dressed in a light-blue button down shirt, which he then removed to reveal a white T-shirt with the word 'KILLER' written over the front with a black marker.

Twitter instantly lit up with posts expressing disbelief and shock at the defendant's callous behavior, with many commenters calling Lane 'sickening' and 'not human.'

When Lane addressed the court, he flipped the middle finger and used profane language toward those in the audience, including the victims' families.

'This hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory. F*** all of you,' the gunman said, causing those in the audience to gasp in shock.

'Frankly, I wasn't prepared for this,' the prosecutor said moments after Lane's gesture. He said the action was proof that Lane is a 'disgusting human being,' and that the rampage was a 'cold, calculated, premeditated killing,' ABC News reported.

Prosecutor James Flaiz went on to say: 'He still refuses to offer any explanation for why he did this. The only explanation I can offer the court is he is an evil person.'

Lane's guilty plea on February 26 came on the eve of the anniversary of the attacks. Daniel Parmertor, Russell King Jr., and Demterius Hewlin were killed and three others were wounded, two seriously, including Nick Walczak who is now confined to a wheelchair.

Lane wasn't subject to the death penalty because he was 17 at the time of the crimes.

On Tuesday, Lane turned out in court wearing a white T-shirt with the word 'Killer' written on the front - the same word police say the 18-year-old had scrawled on his shirt the day of the deadly shootings.

Lane has never offered a motive for the massacre. Addressing the court during his sentencing, the 18-year-old flipped his middle finger to those who gathered inside the courtroom, among them the victims' families.

'I feel he should be locked up for the rest of his life,' Domenick Iammarino, grandfather of Daniel Parmertor told The Plain Dealer ahead of the sentencing. 'It was a despicable, premeditated act. He should breathe his last breath in prison.'

Judge David L. Fuhry described the shootings as a 'merciless rampage,' noting Lane's apparent lack of remorse as part of his reasoning for the sentence,CBS21reported.

'It appears to the court that the defendant simply wished to make a name for himself, to make a big splash, to make front-page news,' the judge said.

The station WAFF reported that after being collared by police following the rampage, Lane was recorded in a squad car saying: 'I shot people.' When asked by an officer why he did it, the teen replied: 'I don't know.'

The defendant smiled and smirked as the victims' loved ones addressed the court with emotional impact statements.

'You are lucky there are so many police in this room,' said the mother of paralyzed student Nick Walczak. 'You can smile all you want. You are evil.'

Danny Parmertor's mother, Dina, told the court that she has spent every day since her son's murder in pain and tears, The Plain Dealer reported.

'You don't deserve to be called human,' the grieving mother told Lane. 'You are a monster. You are a weak, pathetic, vile coward.'

Dina Parmetor also added: 'I want you to be ensured years and years of pain, which in my opinion is not enough. You don't deserve to take another breath while my 16-year-old son lies in the ground because of your cold, disgusting actions.'

Defense attorney Ian Friedman said Lane plans to file an appeal, and has asked the court to appoint him a lawyer for that process.

'The defense is deeply sorry for the families, all of the families’ pain, all of the families that have been affected by this,' Friedman said. 'There’s nothing we can say that’s going to lessen that.'

TJ Lane's sister, Sadie, released a statement to the media following the sentencing, expressing condolences to the families of the victims and revealing that her own family continues to struggle with the aftermath of the tragedy.

'It may be hard for some to understand, but I love my brother, and hope that wherever the sentence and life takes him in the future that he can touch others' lives in a positive way from a point of view that only he can give,' she said.

Addressing her sibling's shocking demeanor during the Tuesday hearing, Sadie said: 'The brother in the courtroom and [the one] that did this is not the brother I knew.'


'We need help badly! We don't know where he is!': Chilling 911 calls reveal terror after 'outcast gunman' began shooting at Ohio high school

  • Terrified student tells dispatcher 'he's quiet and doesn't talk to anyone'

  • Ohio court heard how TJ Lane chose victims randomly

  • Third dead victim was revealed on Tuesday morning as Demetrius Hewlin

  • First victim in Monday's shooting in Cleveland was Daniel Parmertor, 16

  • Another shot, Russell King Jr, had started dating shooter's ex-girlfriend

  • Town holds candle-lit vigil for students killed in shooting spree

February 29, 2012

Chilling 911 calls reveal the terror suffered by staff and students after a 17-year-old boy began shooting victims randomly in the cafeteria of an Ohio high school on Monday.

TJ Lane allegedly used a .22-calibre pistol to fire 10 shots at a group of students sitting at a table in Chardon High School. Three of the five students he hit have died from their injuries.

Authorities released recordings of emergency calls made by teachers and students at the school as they desperately sought help to capture the teenager on his deadly rampage.

'We’ve got multiple gun shots,' explains one caller. 'It sounded like it came from the gym, cafeteria area.'

'We need help badly!' another begs, as the dispatcher assures him police are on their way. 'We don't know where he is!'

A third caller, who identifies himself as a student, adds: 'I was right by the shooter when he pulled the gun. I saw a couple of students get hit. They were laying on the ground in blood.

'His name is Thomas Lane. He's somewhere in the building. As soon as he started shooting, I ran outside. I saw him take out two and then I was gone.'

The caller added that Lane had began shooting at the 500 students in the cafeteria 'at random'.

When asked for a description of the shooter, the student added: 'He's very quiet and he doesn't really talk to anyone.'

The eerie calls come as thousands of residents and students remembered the victims at a candle-lit vigil at a Chardon church on Tuesday night.

Three students - Demetrius Hewlin, 16, Russell King Jr., 17, and Daniel Parmertor, 16 - were killed in the attack.

Together, the mourners, some of whom were wearing remembrance pins and holding pictures of the murdered youngsters, sang, listened to biblical readings and partook in prayers.

School principal Andy Fetchik's voice broke as he told the crowd: 'We'll mourn together, we'll struggle to understand together, we'll work hard to heal.'

The service came after TJ Lane appeared in an Ohio court on Tuesday, where he admitted taking a gun and knife to school before firing 10 shots at the group in the cafeteria.

‘He did not know the students but chose them randomly,’ said David Joyce, prosecuting.

Lane's face twitched lightly while the prosecutor recounted the attack, and the slim young man sniffled and half-closed his eyes as he walked out of the room with sheriff's deputies.

His grandfather, who has custody of the teenager, and two aunts joined him in court. The women reached over and lightly embraced the grandfather as the hearing began.

Judge Timothy Grendell ordered the boy, who is considered a juvenile, to be held for at least 15 days. He is expected to face at least three counts of aggravated murder when eventually charged.

It comes after revelations that Lane, whom classmates at Chardon High School described as a bullied outcast, posted a chilling note on his Facebook page just weeks before the shooting on Monday.

Lane ranted on Facebook about 'a man with a frown. No job. No family. No crown. His luck had run out. Lost and alone… seizure in the Pestilence that is my scythe. Die, all of you.'

Demetrius’s relatives said he was a happy boy who loved life and his family and friends. ‘We are very saddened by the loss of our son and others in our Chardon community,’ a family statement said.

‘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.’

News of the letter comes as more details emerged about how Lane specifically targeted one group of students in the cafeteria, including one who had started dating Lane's ex-girlfriend.

Local reports identified one of the victims as Russell, a sociable 17-year-old who had started dating an ex-girlfriend of Lane.

After being shot in the back while sitting at a table in the cafeteria, Russell was airlifted to MetroHealth Medical Center. He was declared on Tuesday morning as the second dead victim.

The Center identified the first fatally slain student as 16-year-old Daniel Parmertor, who was shot when Lane targeted a group in the high school cafeteria at Chardon High School, police said.

In the wake of the shooting, other students said Lane was known as an outcast who had apparently been bullied. He allegedly tweeted about bringing a gun to school, but nobody took this seriously.

'Now! Feel death, not just mocking you... Die, all of you,' he wrote in the note that he posted to Facebook on December 20.

The 911 calls give insight into the fear felt along the corridors of the school on Monday morning. Other students have recounted their horror at hearing Lane open fire.

Freshman Danny Komertz, 15, said that he was just about to leave for his first-period health class when he heard a loud popping sound and then saw the gunman open fire.

The freshman said that the person who died was trying to get under a cafeteria table to protect himself and shield his face.

Danny said that there were at least 100 students in the cafeteria at the time and that most fled immediately as shots were fired.

'He was aiming right at them as he was two feet away ... He wasn't shooting around the cafeteria at all. He was directly aiming at the four of them,' Danny said.

Another student saw the entire incident because he was right in the middle of it, so much so that his ear was grazed by a bullet.

'All of a sudden we heard a loud bang, almost like a firework. We turned around and I saw T.J. standing at the table behind us with his gun pointed and firing,' said witness Danny Mueller.

'His first shot made me look. His second shot I watched him take, which hit somebody behind me, and his third shot hit me as I was turning away. There was no warning or anything. He just opened fire.'

The shooting ended when the school's assistant football coach Frank Hall chased Lane out of the building, with many saying that the heroic move is just in keeping with the coach's nature.

'Coach Hall, he always talks about how much he cares about us students, his team and everyone.

'And I think today he really went out and he proved how much he cared about us. He would take a bullet for us,' said student Neil Thomas.

The first victim's family issued 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. This family is torn by this loss.’

Daniel Parmertor had aspired to be a computer repairman and was shot while waiting for the bus bound for a vocational centre.

His teacher at Auburn Career School had no idea why Daniel, 'a very good young man, very quiet,' had been targeted, said Auburn superintendent Maggie Lynch.

Reports on Lane's personality and social status have been shaky, as each student interviewed paints a different picture of the alleged shooter.

Some say he was a loner, others say he was bullied, and yet another said Lane was 'gothic'.

Anxious parents thronged the streets around the school as they heard from students via text message and cellphone long before official word came of the attack.

By midday, officers investigating the shooting blocked off a road in a heavily wooded area several miles from the school.

Federal agents patrolled the muddy driveway leading to several spacious homes and ponds, while other officers walked a snowy hillside.

There are mixed reports as to whether Lane was enrolled at Chardon High School or whether he was just there while waiting to be transferred to Lake Academy Alternative School.

On their website, the school says it handles students with a variety of issues, including 'substance abuse /chemical dependency, anger issues, mental health issues, truancy, delinquency, difficulties with attention/organisation, and academic deficiencies'.

The FBI and local authorities are now searching the suspect's house, which is being treated as a crime scene. They will be looking for any notes or additional evidence.



One 911 call was made by a young man who identified himself as a student at the school:

Dispatcher: Did you see the shooter? Are you a student?

Student: Yes. Yes I am a student. I was right by the shooter when he pulled the gun.

Dispatcher: Who was the shooter?

Student: His name is Thomas Lane.

Dispatcher: Is he a student?

Student: Yeah.

Dispatcher: Where is he at now?

Student: He's somewhere in the building. As soon as I saw him pull the gun and start shooting, I ran outside.

Dispatcher: Did he shoot anyone?

Student: Yes. I saw a couple of students get hit.

Dispatcher: Where was all this taking place at?

Student: In the lunchroom at Chardon High School.

Dispatcher: And you saw him shoot how many?

Student: I saw him take out two and then I was gone... they were laying on the ground in blood.

Dispatcher: What was his beef with these kids, do we know?

Student: I have no idea. It's a kid that, generally like I try to talk to, he's very quiet and he doesn't really talk to anyone.

Dispatcher: Was he picking students randomly?

Student: Yeah, he just pulled out a gun and started firing upon, like 500 kids, all in the lunchroom.

Dispatcher: So he just pulled out the gun and started shooting students in the cafeteria?

Student: Yes. At random.



The following was allegedly posted by T.J. Lane on his Facebook page on December 20, 2011:

In a time long since, a time of repent, The Renaissance. In a quaint lonely town, sits a man with a frown. No job. No family. No crown. His luck had run out. Lost and alone.

The streets were his home. His thoughts would solely consist of "why do we exist?" His only company to confide in was the vermin in the street. He longed for only one thing, the world to bow at his feet.

They too should feel his secret fear. The dismal drear. His pain had made him sincere.

He was better than the rest, all those ones he detests, within their castles, so vain. Selfish and conceited.

They couldn't care less about the peasents they mistreated. They were in their own world, it was a joyous one too. That castle, she stood just to do all she could to keep the peasents at bay, not the enemy away.

They had no enemies in their filthy orgy. And in her, the castles every story, was just another chamber of Lucifer's Laboratory. The world is a sandbox for all the wretched sinners.

They simply create what they want and make themselves the winners. But the true winner, he has nothing at all. Enduring the pain of waiting for that castle to fall. Through his good deeds, the rats and the fleas.

He will have for what he pleads, through the eradication of disease. So, to the castle he proceeds, like an ominous breeze through the trees. "Stay back!" The Guards screamed as they were thrown to their knees. "Oh God, have mercy, please!"

The castle, she gasped and then so imprisoned her breath, to the shallow confines of her fragile chest. I'm on the lamb but I ain't no sheep. I am Death. And you have always been the sod. So repulsive and so odd.

You never even deserved the presence of God, and yet, I am here. Around your cradle I plod. Came on foot, without shod. How improper, how rude. However, they shall not mind the mud on my feet if there is blood on your sheet.

Now! Feel death, not just mocking you. Not just stalking you but inside of you. Wriggle and writhe. Feel smaller beneath my might. Seizure in the Pestilence that is my scythe. Die, all of you.



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