Third student dies in Chardon High School shooting rampage
TJ Lane (Source: WOIO)
CHARDON, OH (WOIO) -
A third student has died after being shot at Chardon High School on Monday.
Demetrius Hewlin passed away Tuesday morning.
His family made the following statement:
"We are very saddened by the loss of our son and others in our Chardon community. 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. We ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."
The other deceased students have been identified as Russell King, Jr., 17, and Daniel Parmentor, 16.
Five students were shot at Chardon High early Monday morning by a student gunman, who witnesses have identified as 17-year-old TJ Lane.
The shootings occurred just before the start of classes Monday morning around 7:40AM in the area of the school's cafeteria. Lane reportedly opened fire, shooting five students.
Lane is expected to be in court this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. before Judge Timothy Grendell.
Parmentor's family made the following statement: "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."
At Hillcrest Hospital, 17-year-old Nick Walczak remains in serious condition and 18-year-old Joy Rikers is in stable condition.
A student who witnessed the shooting says it appeared the gunman was targeting a group of students sitting at a cafeteria table. Freshman Danny Komertz says he was just about to leave for his first-period health class Monday when he heard a loud popping sound and then saw the gunman open fire.
He says one student who authorities say was killed was trying to get under a table to protect himself and shield his face.
Komertz says the shooter was known as an outcast who had apparently been bullied.
Komertz, 15, says that there were at least 100 students in the cafeteria at the time and that most fled immediately as shots were fired.
Officials say a teacher chased the male student gunman from the building. The suspect later surrendered to two innocent bystanders about an hour later and a half mile away from the school. The 17-year-old Lane is cooperating with police. He has not yet been charged.
The shooter had posted photos of himself holding handguns to his Twitter account. He also posted a photo holding a sign with Sunday's date and Omegle, which is the name of an Internet chat site.
The high school, which had been on lock down since the shootings, was evacuated around 8:50 a.m.. All high school students were then taken to a nearby elementary school to be reunited with their parents.
The Superintendent immediately canceled classes at all other Chardon Schools. Students on school busses were dropped off back at their homes. Parents were called to pick up students already at school.
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.
Heather Ziska, 17, said she was in the cafeteria when she and other students heard popping noises in the hall. She said she saw a boy she recognized as a fellow student come into the cafeteria and start shooting.
She said she and several others immediately ran outside, while other friends ran into a middle school and others locked themselves in a teachers' lounge.
"Everybody just started running," said 17-year-old Megan Hennessy, who was in class when she heard loud noises. "Everyone was running and screaming down the hallway."
Rebecca Moser, 17, had just settled into her chemistry class when the school went into lockdown. The class of about 25 students ducked behind the lab tables at the back of the classroom, uncertain whether it was a drill.
Text messages started flying inside and outside the school, spreading information about what was happening and what friends and family were hearing outside the building.
"We all have cellphones, so people were constantly giving people updates - about what was going on, who the victims were, how they were doing," Moser said.
Chardon is a town of 5,100 about 30 miles east of Cleveland. Chardon High School has about 1,100 students.
Governor Kasich issued the following statement in response to the shooting at Chardon High School:
"Please join me in praying for the students who've been injured in this horrible crime. Praise goes to the Chardon Police and Geauga County Sheriff's office for quickly getting this situation under control. I've pledged Ohio's full support to them, the school and the local community in this difficult time."
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown released the following statement after several students were shot at Chardon High School.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the Chardon community today. I join Ohioans across the state in praying for the speedy recovery of the students that have been injured," Brown said. "I stand ready to provide whatever assistance possible to the victims and their families-as well as to local, state, and federal law enforcement to ensure that the suspect is brought to justice."
Copyright 2012 WOIO. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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