2nd Victim Dies After School Shooting
A second victim has died from wounds suffered in the school shooting in Chardon, Ohio, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office said Tuesday.
Russell King Jr. 17, was shot at Chardon High School on Monday, the agency said in a statement. Student Daniel Parmertor died on Monday. Three other students were wounded in the shooting.
Authorities have yet to name the teen shooter arrested in the Monday morning attack. But many students, some of whom said they were steps away from the suspect when the bullets flew, described the shooter as a withdrawn boy named T.J. Lane.
The suspect was scheduled to make an initial court appearance at 3:30 p.m. Authorities have not released the charges the 17-year-old sophomore may face.
Lawyer Bob Farinacci, speaking for Lane’s family, said late Monday night that the 17-year-old was “extremely remorseful.”
“Very, very scared and extremely remorseful,” he told CNN affiliate WKYC.
“He is a very confused young man right now,” Farinacci added. “He’s very confused. He is very upset. He’s very distraught … himself. This is a very scary circumstance that I don’t think he could have possibly even foreseen himself in the middle of.”
There will be no school Tuesday in Chardon, where parents and children struggle to understand the inexplicable actions of a quiet teen that upended the calm of the small suburban Cleveland community.
“I want people to stay home tomorrow to reflect on their families,” said Superintendent Joe Bergant, choking with emotion at a Monday afternoon news conference, “and if you haven’t hugged or kissed your kid, do.”
Like others in the town of 5,100, Lane’s family has been left grappling for an explanation, he said.
“This is something that could never have been predicted,” Farinacci said. “TJ’s family has asked for some privacy while they try to understand how such a tragedy could have occurred and while they mourn this terrible loss for their community.”
With little to go on, many turned to cryptic Facebook postings by the alleged shooter for a glimpse into Lane’s mindset — especially a long, dark poetic rant from December 30.
The post refers to “a quaint lonely town, (where there) sits a man with a frown (who) longed for only one thing, the world to bow at his feet.”
“He was better than the rest, all those ones he detests, within their castles, so vain,” he wrote.
Lane then wrote about going through “the castle … like an ominous breeze through the trees,” past guards — all leading up to the post’s dramatic conclusion.
“Feel death, not just mocking you. Not just stalking you but inside of you,” he writes. “Wriggle and writhe. Feel smaller beneath my might. Seizure in the Pestilence that is my scythe.”
He concluded the post with: “Die, all of you.”
On Monday just before class started, witnesses say Lane silently walked up to a table of students, holding a gun.
As he opened fire, the shooter was expressionless, a student recalled.
“He was silent the entire time,” said student Nate Mueller, who said his ear was grazed by a bullet. “There was no warning or anything. He just opened fire.”
Danny Komertz, a freshman, said the shooter seemed to be focused on specific targets.
“I looked straight ahead and I saw a gun pointing at a group of four guys sitting a table. … He just fired two quick shots at them. I saw one student fall, and I saw the other hiding, trying to get cover underneath the table,” Komertz said.
“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,” he said.
In a school, which drills students on what to do in emergencies, Monday’s death toll may have been much higher were it not for the actions of assistant football coach and study hall teacher Frank Hall, students said.
Hall chased the gunman out of the school, and police arrested the suspect nearby a short time later.
“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 victims were students who attended Lake Academy Alternative School, a nearby vocational school, and were waiting for a bus to take them there, witnesses said. Lane himself is a student at the school for at-risk children, said its interim director, Don Ehas.
In a statement Monday, Parmertor’s family said they were “torn by the loss.”
“Danny was a bright young boy who had a bright future ahead of him,” the family said.
Many juvenile court hearings are closed to the public, so it may still be some time before the northeastern Ohio community gets some answers.
“By all accounts T.J. is a fairly quiet and good kid,” said Farinacci, the Lane family attorney, said. “His grades are pretty impressive. He’s a sophomore. He’s been doubling up on his classes with the intent of graduating this May.
“He pretty much sticks to himself but does have some friends and has never been in trouble over anything that we know about.”