Long before official word came of the tragic school shootings at Ohio’s Chardon High School, parents learned of the bloodshed from students via text messages and cell phones. They thronged the streets around the school, anxiously awaiting word on their children.
Teacher Joe Ricci had just begun class at his suburban Cleveland high school when he heard shots and slammed the door to his classroom, yelling, “Lockdown!” to students.
A few minutes later, he heard moaning outside, opened the door and pulled in student Nick Walczak who had been shot several times, according to a student whose sister was in Ricci’s classroom.
In the end, a teenager who opened fire in the school’s cafeteria on Feb. 27 killed two students and wounded three others before he was captured, authorities said. [Update: A third student, 16-year-old Demetrius Hewlin, died Tuesday morning, according to multiple reports.]
The shooter was identified as T.J. Lane by his family’s lawyer, WKYC-TV in Cleveland reported.
FBI officials would not comment on a motive. And Police Chief Tim McKenna said authorities “have a lot of homework to do yet” in their investigation of the shooting, which sent students screaming through the halls at the start of the school day at 1,100-student Chardon High.
One of the wounded was listed in critical condition, and another was in serious condition as of press time.
A news conference was planned for midmorning on Feb. 28.
Gov. John Kasich has ordered flags at the Ohio Statehouse flown at half-staff in honor of slain students Daniel Parmertor and Russell King Jr. Flags in Geauga County will also be lowered.
Parmertor was an aspiring computer repairman who was waiting in the cafeteria for the bus for his daily 15-minute ride to a vocational school.
His teacher at the Auburn Career School had no idea why Parmertor, “a very good young man, very quiet,” had been targeted, said Auburn superintendent Maggie Lynch.
“We are shocked by this senseless tragedy,” Parmertor’s family said in a statement. “Danny was a bright young boy who had a bright future ahead of him.”
Parmertor died from injuries shortly after being flown to the hospital. King died later Monday evening.
A student who saw the attack up close said it appeared that the gunman targeted a group of students sitting together and that Parmertor was gunned down while trying to duck under a cafeteria table.