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Third student dies from Ohio high school shooting

1:53 PM, Feb 28, 2012   |    comments
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CHARDON, Ohio -- A third student has died of wounds suffered in a shooting at a high school in Chardon, Ohio, hospital officials said Tuesday.

Demetrius Hewlin died Tuesday morning, MetroHealth Medical Center said in a statement.

Russell King Jr., 17, was declared brain dead early Tuesday, according to the Cuyahoga County medical examiner's office.

The first victim, student Daniel Parmertor died on Monday.

RELATED | 911 fire, EMS & police audio from Chardon HS shooting scene (from http://statter.com/)

"We are very saddened by the loss of our son and others in our Chardon community," Hewlin's family said in a statement released by the hospital. "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."

Police have yet to identify the alleged shooter, but many students -- some of whom said they were steps away when the shooting began -- described him as a withdrawn boy named T.J. Lane.

Police Chief Tim McKenna said the motive remained unclear, but said he hoped prosecutors could provide more information following a scheduled hearing in juvenile court Tuesday afternoon.

The suspect was scheduled to appear in juvenile court at 3:30 p.m.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Tuesday he does not expect the case to remain in juvenile court.

"I have not talked to the prosecuting attorney, David Joyce, yet, but what we would assume is that this case would be at some point bound over and he would be tried in all likelihood as an adult," DeWine said on CNN.

Two other students wounded in the shooting remained hospitalized. They were being treated at Hillcrest Hospital. Police said Monday that one was in serious condition and the other in stable condition. Their names have not been released.

Geauga County Sheriff Daniel McClelland said that while the initial response is over, the community has a long way to go before it can put the shooting behind it.

"Now we move to another important phase," he said. "And while the investigation continues and we still look for the why and what and who, we now deal with a community looking to heal."

Classes in the tight-knit community of 5,100, about 30 miles east of Cleveland, are not scheduled to resume until Friday. But staff, students and parents will be encouraged to return to district schools for visits and counseling on Wednesday and Thursday, Superintendent Joe Bergant said.

Thousands of people posted on Facebook and other social networking services pledging to wear red -- Chardon's school color -- on Tuesday in support of the victims and survivors of the shooting. Thousands of others came together to post condolences on memorial pages dedicated to the victims.

The victims were students who attended a nearby vocational school and were waiting for a bus to take them there, witnesses said. Lane is a student at Lake Academy Alternative School, a school for at-risk children, said the school's 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.

Lawyer Bob Farinacci, speaking for Lane's family, said late Monday night that the suspect, a 17-year-old sophomore, was "extremely remorseful."

"Very, very scared and extremely remorseful," he told CNN affiliate WKYC.

"He is a very confused young man right now," Farinacci said. "He's very confused. He is very upset. He's very distraught."

Like others in Chardon, Lane's family also has been left grappling for an explanation.

"This is something that could never have been predicted," Farinacci said. "T.J.'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 to help make sense of the violence, 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."

Despite the dark tone, Farinacci said Lane was a "fairly quiet and good kid" with good grades who was doubling up on classes to graduate in May.

"He pretty much sticks to himself but does have some friends and has never been in trouble over anything that we know about," he said.

But just before class started Monday, 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 at 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.

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

(CNN)

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