Published February 28, 2012
A third student who was wounded in a shooting rampage at an Ohio high school died Tuesday morning, according to hospital spokeswoman.
The family of Demetrius Hewlin released a statement following his death.
"We are very saddened by the loss of our son and others in our Chardon community," Hewlin's family said in a statement. "Demetrius was a happy young man who loved life and his family and friends."
Earlier Tuesday, Chardon Police Chief Tim McKenna said during a news conference that 17-year-old Russell King Jr., who was airlifted to a hospital following the shooting, "has passed."
Two other students were wounded in the shooting. Another student, 16-year-old Daniel Parmertor, died hours after the shooting.
McKenna would not disclose the identity of the alleged gunman, saying, "For legal reasons, I will not release the name of the person who's being brought before the judge this afternoon." Another press conference is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
A lawyer for the suspect's family has identified him to a Cleveland television station as T.J. Lane, a 17-year-old junior at the high school who was described by fellow classmates as an outcast.
The teenager is suspected of targeting King and four other classmates inside the school's cafeteria at around 7:30 a.m. Monday.
Witnesses say the gunman opened fire on the group before being chased from the building by a teacher and apprehended by authorities about a half a mile away.
Lawyer Robert Farinacci said Lane's family is mourning "this terrible loss for their community" and "trying to understand how the tragedy happened."
In a statement issued to WKYC-TV in Cleveland Monday night, Farinacci said the family of Lane offered "their most heartfelt and sincere condolences" to the family of Parmertor. Farinacci said Lane's family is praying for the other injured students from Chardon High School.
Police have not released the alleged shooter's name because he has not been charged yet. McKenna said Tuesday that the motive remains unclear.
Farinacci said Lane "pretty much sticks to himself but does have some friends and has never been in trouble over anything that we know about."
Fifteen-year-old Danny Komertz, who witnessed the shooting, said Lane was known as an outcast who had apparently been bullied. But others disputed that.
"Even though he was quiet, he still had friends," said Tyler Lillash, 16. "He was not bullied."
An education official said late Monday the suspected shooter is a student at nearby Lake Academy, not Chardon High.
Brian Bontempo declined to answer any more questions about the student. Bontempo is the superintendent of the Lake County Educational Service Center, which operates the academy.
The alternative school in Willoughby serves 7th through 12th grades. Students may have been referred to the school because of academic or behavioral problems.
Law enforcement officials described the suspect as a "victim of bullying" and an "outcast." FBI officials would not comment on a motive.
Parmertor's family released a statement Monday through MetroHealth System spokeswoman Shannon Mortland that said: "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."
Joe Bergant, superintendent of schools in Chardon, a town of about 5,100 people, said during the press conference Tuesday that classes will fully resume Friday in the Ohio district. Bergant said parents, students and faculty will be invited to the schools for counseling at various times before then.
Nate Mueller, a high school junior who was hit in the right ear, told the newspaper that he and his friends were sitting in the cafeteria when the shooter approached them at around 7:30 a.m.
Mueller said he turned around after hearing a gunshot behind him and was struck on his ear, the newspaper reported.
"My friends were crawling on the floor, and one of my friends was bent over the table, and he was shot," he told the newspaper. "It was almost like a firecracker went off. I turned around and saw him standing with a gun and I saw him take a shot."
Another witness, freshman Danny Komertz, said 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 15-year-old Komertz says that there were at least 100 students in the cafeteria at the time and that most fled immediately as shots were fired.
He said one student who authorities say was killed was trying to get under a table to protect himself and shield his face.
Teacher Joe Ricci had just begun class when he heard shots and slammed the door to his classroom, yelling, "Lock down!" to students, according to Karli Sensibello, a student whose sister was in Ricci's classroom.
A few minutes later, Ricci heard a student moaning outside, opened the door and pulled in student Nick Walczak who had been shot several times, Sensibello said in an email. Ricci comforted Walczak and let him use his cellphone to call his girlfriend and parents, Sensibello said. She said her sister was too upset to talk.
Student Heather Ziska, who was just feet away when the gunman opened fire, said a normal morning was interrupted by strange sounds in a hallway, then the sight of the gunman beginning to shoot.
The 17-year-old junior said she and other students began hearing popping noises in a nearby hallway. Ziska said she then saw a boy with a gun who 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.
The 1,100-student high school is about 30 miles east of Cleveland.
The Associated Press and Newscore contributed to this report.